photography in reverse: day eleven

a life in plastic

I love giving presents, and today I was directly mimicking my first Photography Professor, Christopher James, by giving each of my students a brand-new Holga and a roll of Tri-X. The weather wasn’t wonderful – in fact it was cold and rainy and sleepy – but I wanted to send them off with a roll of 120 film to shoot and then come back and develop it. I opened up an old expired roll of color 120 to show them how the roll is assembled so they can process it without surprises, answered a few questions – everyone looked pretty confident, I’m happy to report – and pushed them out into the rain. I feel a little bad that I didn’t buy my assistant a camera, but I know she already has a Holga, so I loaned her my old original Diana and urged her to shoot a roll of the old Infrared film she brought with her. After our good discussion yesterday, it’s clear she needs to go play and find something surprising in her own work. I have total faith in her, of course…

I figured most of the rest of the day would be answering questions as they arose, switching lenses for those who get to printing their larger-format film, finding solutions to their new ideas… I did have to carve out some time in the afternoon to re-do the printing demo for one poor student who was awfully ill the other day, but it was a good opportunity to do a re-hash for the students within earshot. There were a lot of ideas being tossed around today, and the creative energy is high. I’m glad they’ll have a whole day for this tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the rest of my day had to be spent sitting on the computer, putting together the 100 images I wanted to show them tomorrow. It’s my own fault, of course, since I was the one who decided to show them pictures every Friday, but I know they’ll be inspired and we’ll have more to talk about each week. The problem is that I’m starting to feel that all this time sitting at a computer or other connected device is ruining some of the magic I usually feel on this mountain. Certainly something is keeping me from connecting to the deep inspiration I always count on finding here. I wondered at first if it was just from being here so often for short visits in the last couple of years, or just the psychic residue of the last six months or so, a chaotic time to say the least. No, I’m gonna blame the Machines. I need more peace, more freedom to be untethered, more time to think.

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