Thursday, January 7, 2010

Binge and Purge

I’m a gadget-geek. That’s not something I readily admit, but when it comes to photography, there’s no denying it. I’m not as bad as some I know, but I’m bad enough to get myself into a bit of trouble every now and then. With the New Year comes time to do a bit of housecleaning.

In the past, selling old and unused equipment hasn’t an easy thing for me to do. It’s not as if I have an overabundance of things, but I do have enough that storage of it all is becoming an issue. The desire to purge started when a friend called and asked if I wanted to sell one of my old cameras, an original Canon Digital Rebel. I hadn’t used this camera in so long, I wasn’t even sure where it was. I found it and putting it with all the stuff I had that belonged with it, called her back and made the deal.

I’ve since taken a long and hard look at what I need and don’t need to keep moving forward. The most obvious in the “don’t need” category are my studio lights and accessories and a literal library of digital photography books, most of which are actually how-to types tied to long obsolete versions of PhotoShop.

The books will likely be donated to a local photography club or sent to Good Will or some other drop-off type charity. Another option is the local chapter of the American Humane Society where they actually have an impressive used book store.

Selling old cameras, especially an old digital, proved to be quite painless. The studio lights will be easy enough to let go of too. Readers may recall I attempted to use the lower level of The Gallery, where I’m an owning partner, as a studio in order to save the costs of renting a formal studio. A good idea, but I ran into complications. (You can read about that experience here if interested.) This grand idea of using The Gallery basement as a studio came about as a way to reduce my shooting costs by not having to rent a studio since I had my own lights. However, I’m soon to be an ex-partner of The Gallery, so I’ll no longer have access to the space. This means I’m back to renting my friend’s local studio for indoor work, and since it’s a fully equipped and stocked facility, I won’t need lights. Thus, the lights and their accessories are now for sale. I’m planning more natural light work anyway; therefore my original goal of lowering studio renting costs should happen. It’s the perfect solution, right? Let’s hope so.

Purging and de-cluttering are good for the soul when done properly. I’m convinced of it. For a number of years, I lived my life by that rule. When I met my wife, everything I owned fit in my car. While those days are long gone, simplifying one’s life, perhaps a bit painful at first, almost always creates good results in the long term. But the things I won’t sell are my film cameras and my good glass. I’ve made that mistake once before.


In my backyard is a small storage shed. Inside, among the various unused yard tools, long forgotten bicycles and camping equipment, there’s a refrigerator and freezer full of black and white and color film and black and white photographic printing paper. When we bought the house in 2004, I had hoped to convert the shed to a working darkroom. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Confounding local building codes, my own ethics, and a hard to ignore shortage of funds ended the project before it began.

In another attempt to reclaim useable space, I’ve decided to shoot more film in 2010, the goal being to clear out at as much of the refrigerator and freezer as possible. This meant spending most of New Year’s Day mixing chemistry and getting set for the coming onslaught of rolling film onto reels and timing inversions of development tanks.

Actually, I’m looking forward to it. As many of you know I’m a film shooter at heart. I had considered selling most of the color film, but I think I’ll shoot it too. Since there’s not a darkroom available in which to print, I’ll have to scan and work the negatives digitally anyway, so why not? The printing papers can sit idle a bit longer. Besides, getting to play with all the developing stuff and chemicals really appeals to my inner ‘photo-geek’.


Here are two more nudes, lit naturally, from summer and fall sessions in 2009.

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