Large format photography: “The Day We Left Earth”
Throughout the season, wherever I go, I bring a camera. Or rather I should say at least one camera. There is something about traveling in the winter. Driving through a storm, hiking through fresh snow, looking out over the mountains… It is exploration. Our minds can remember so much, though so many times we forget the details. That’s where the camera comes in. With a camera we can not only share our vision, but we can create new perspectives.
Ever since I have been snowboarding I have always experimented with photography, and with today’s technology everybody is a photographer. The fast pace of today has completely changed what it means to be a photographer. We can capture, capture, capture then delete, delete, delete. The snap of a photo has little weight these days because of our capabilities to run our shutters on overdrive.
Out of my own curiosities and desire to learn more about where photography came from and how such artists like Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, Edward Weston, and Ezra Stoller created their masterpieces and worked within their medium, I have taken a step back in time, style, and speed to understand and delve into large format photography.
Last winter was my first winter with my large format camera. Instead of the compact convenience of the cameras and gear we have today, I had twice the amount of gear that is about twice the size as well. Creating a pack that I could travel around with was no easy task. Not to mention I was trekking this pack around along with my snowboard gear.
The time it takes for me to set up the composition of the photograph, make several light readings, and load the film creates tension between the shutter and me. Each snap of the lens makes me hold my breath, and half the time I second-guess myself. Did I get the focus just right? Was my light reading accurate? Even after the clip of the camera I’m not given instant results or satisfaction, for the process had really just begun.
Next I would have to keep the film safe from all exposure until I could develop the film. I develop all the film myself. I mix, measure, and pour all the chemicals at home. Not to mention film cannot be exposed to any light until it is developed. So I end up spending an hour in the pitch black. I have to tape towels around any light leaks I may find to protect my precious frames because if that photo sees light too early it develops into nothing. The only thing I can see in the dark is my glow in the dark timer that keeps me on pace. So I throw on a little music and relax. Sometimes the dark has a soothing side effect on my mind.
As I finish my developing process I am always afraid to turn on the lights. I fear and favor the end results. Usually it takes me anywhere from a week to several months to see what I captured. But in the end I am usually blown away. Even if the image is not exactly how I imagined (sometimes the time in the dark glorifies the idea) I learn. That’s the idea though, to learn something.
For me by slowing down the process I gain satisfaction and appreciation. And with all that time I can create something different. I will still argue that the detail and quality of large format photographs are incomparable to any digital medium we have today.
After a year of creating my vision I have created a full series. It is something different, something to slow you down, something out of this world.
Without further ado I present to you:
THE DAY WE LEFT EARTH:
A VISUAL PERSPECTIVE & PRESENTATION OF FUTURE, SPACE, AND TIME LIT BY FOREIGN SUNS OF VIABLE SYNTHESIS, SCIENTIFIC PHENOMENOM, AND BEYOND TO FAR DISTANT TRIBURIAL WORLDS OF DEFYING GRAVITATIONAL PULLS AND OFF COLOR LANDSCAPES.
The entire series will be hosted at Clint’s Bakery on Main Street in Breckenridge. If you are in town there will be an opening party March 14, 2013 from 8-10 PM. There will be hors d’oeuvres and beverages to help wash down the evening. Please come swing in!
If you cannot make it Thursday night the show will be up for the next two months so swing in grab a coffee or delicious treat and check out my work. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.
Although if all else fails the entire series is viewable on my website jakeblackphotography.com though there is nothing better than seeing the photos in person.
– Jake Black