Hand-made cameras fascinate me. Richard Learoyd has made an obscura that is amazingly interesting. His camera makes prints of 50×70 inches of fleeting salience that have no source other than the moement in which they were captured. No negatives, no digital file, no copies.
Learoyd questions whether the invention of duplicative processing of imagery allows photographs to retain value (integrity) and I tend to agree: the individuality of an image is partially in it’s inability to be reproduced. Giving over to that acceptance of reality is something few people are brave enough to do.
For my work, even family or senior folios, I don’t take 6 frames of the same or a similar shot. I can’t bring myself to do something that isn’t going to feel unique. It’s bad enough, to me, that I have two cards in my camera recording the same thing and that I have 36 images of the same set. I need and crave the connection to each singular moment, in its unique form, but I don’t necessarily feel like I need to possess them. Holding my strong convictions loosely is a basic way of illustrating this – but I think Learoyd’s camera does a better real-time job of showing what it means to do so.
His work is hanging in the Getty Center 8/30 – 11/27 this year. I encourage you to view him speaking on his process below.
One of my friends recently said to me, “You know, that photo you printed of my wife sits on my desk. It’s the most I’ve seen of her in a while.” So I asked him, “Do you see her for dinner everyday with the kids?” – and it hit him. He wasn’t allowing the imperfect to be beautiful.
Connecting with your loved ones can be as simple as engaging for a second, telling each other one thing you love about the other, telling them one thing you are proud of them for that day.
See each other. Take a selfie with each other every morning with your coffee or each night as you brush your teeth. Your photos and snapshots don’t need to be taken when you are your best-dressed or when you don’t feel like you just ate pizza.
If I could have anything in the world it would be a Facebook feed filled with my friends and family – all 900 of you – in a selfie with your bestie, your spouse, you with your children, you with your cat, you with your whole family, your hairdresser – whoever it is that makes this life special for you. Photograph each other. Remember the good things. Celebrate little tiny moments.
Allow imperfection and become happy about how yours are accepted.
In this little snapshot from about 2009 I am wearing a clown head. I am also dressed in 4 layers of sweats and sweaters because it was winter. This photo reflects the mood I was in – that day was completely and without equivocation a farce. I had hoped this would never surface – I mean you can’t tell it’e me, but I know. I will always know. LOL! I’m glad the person I was with took this. Photos of things on my head became a tradition because of this photo.
What traditions will you start?