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While photographing Ksenia’s guitar I came to the realization as to why digital cameras and digital photography have a bad name. It’s longevity. Ksenia’s guitar is worn but alive. It’s become an integral component to her music and style. It’s reminiscent of a Willie Nelson guitar in that her rapid strumming has left a physical “groove”, embedded in its wood. When she plays it, it is an extension of her and her music. It sways, vibrates, lives and continues to do so after years of use.
Contrast this with a digital camera, which like a computer, falls out of fashion and use every three years. It has a limit of actuations (or shutter clicks). The rapid pace of technology makes the camera, not antique, but obsolete. Of course there are those lenses and this is the closest it comes. Your lens does have longevity, it does contribute to your style. A good lens of sharp focus and narrow depth can produce a breathtaking image. But still…
Older film cameras were more like the guitar. Those machines had character. They played a more intimate role in the outcome and the identity of the photographer. Instead of identifying with the rapid pace of advancement, one identified with art and the process. If I was to look back I’d say the closest to this for me, would be my Mamiya RB67 (note: RB stood for “revolving back” and one would simply revolve the back to take either a portrait or landscape format picture – great for use on your tripod!). I would lug this box around with tripod and shoot the streets, especially Harvard Square. I was forced to confront my subject and the subject back at me. The image too was alive, fixated on paper, with character.
In the end it might be time to revert. To take the slow approach again. To get off the rapid express train of technology and to drag out that hulking medium format camera and tripod. To become one with your instrument of art.
But then again, these pictures were taken with a digital camera.