Saturday, December 8, 2007

A secret love

For a brief time during my college career I had taken up photography. Believe you me, I was not a stellar photographer but I loved it more than anything else I had ever picked up as a hobby. This includes my brief stint playing the violin and flute (both of which are long gone and/or missing). I suppose 6 years of playing violin shouldn't be accounted as being a brief stint, but I digress.

It was my last semester at Pierce college and I had fulfilled all my prerequisites or required coursework relevant to my major/GE's. Full-time student status flew out the window, and I browsed through all the the classes being offered and low and behold, Photography stuck out. My friend Ken and I ended up taking the same course together, and we thought we would be in it for the long haul. Initially the professor teaching the course was a woman, but at the next class meeting we had this gentlemen, very unconventional, replace her due to unforeseen personal circumstances. This turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen.

Photography 101 is basically an introduction course for dummies. The only thing was this class was based on the use of a standard manual camera. Film. 35mm. Most of that language is dead and long gone, yet there is a novelty behind such outdated camera use. One more thing, this was a class based on black and white film, so we had to purchase all our materials accordingly. This included specific black and white film, a smock (recommended), photography paper and etc. Yes, I used a dark room, something that is becoming obsolete this days as companies such as Kodak and Illford are shutting down production of photo paper development. I haven't heard anything regarding AFGA.

I spent countless hours in the dark room. For my final project, I spent over 10 hours developing all the photos I had taken, and two and half hours alone of this shot I took at Topanga Beach. I remember trying to fix the exposure of the photography and utilizing the ever-so-helpful tools such as spotting and burning the image of the sky. There's something extremely rewarding when your photo turns out just right. I know there are some people that cannot live without the "preview" option, but I think it takes away your sense of a steady hand and keen eye. I believe there's a real love and adoration one develops with dealing with uncertainty of photos. But that is just my personal opinion.

My final project was shot around Westwood with my friend Ken. It was a night-time series shot, which turned out to be one of the funnest nights I remember for a college project. I recall being evicted from the top of the Longs Drugstore parking lot (Longs Drugstore no longer exists). Then we headed over to the Broxton Street public parking garage and took a few shots there.

The night-time landscape shots in Westwood were one of my favorite times as a college student. If you didn't know already, I have a particular interest in landscape photography and Ansel Adams is one of my favorite photographers (as he is to many people). I know, Ansel Adams is like a default photographer to love, but still... his images to this day are awe inspiring and haunting. I missed the Weston exhibit in Pasadena a few years ago on display at the Huntington.

Eventually a digital SLR will wind up in my hands. Photoshop already plays a big part in my regular digital photos. Still, a manual camera with black and white film always leaves me with the feeling of the pure enjoyment I had being an artist, even if it was only for a few months.

Flowers from Patrick (left) and my coworker Judi (right)
And the ever so (best gift ever) wonderful Kitchen Aid mixer.

1 comment:

helena said...

I love Ansel Adams too! He founded the photography department at my art school (San Francisco Art Institute).