The Universe Expands – The Photoverse Contracts

Not just a trite phrase – a trite phrase with truth behind it.

I started out my photo career with an SVa Pentax. I wore it out, and bought other gear. My equipment store expanded as rapidly as my ambitions and eventually I was able to say that I was shooting with Leica, Hasselblad, and Linhof systems. Not just one camera borrowed for a day – systems owned and used over years. Darkrooms and then were labs owned and operated. I shot weddings for years.

Now it has contracted to a Fujifilm system, an iMac computer, and a handful of image processing programs. And a small, specific business.

And it has never felt so good.

Bigger is not necessarily better. Louder and noisier can sometimes mean that nothing is heard quite as well. Complexity can sometimes be a punishment, rather than a reward. And people can be seduced into behaving in ways foreign to their nature by the blandishments of others. We are blessed if we can see the truth and govern ourselves accordingly.

The advent of the digital camera-memory card-computer-image program team is the greatest liberator since Simon Bolivar. No longer need I devote an entire room to darkness, leaky plumbing, bad ventilation, and carcinogenic organic compounds to get an A3+ colour print. I can print that in 15 minutes from a dead cold start in my computer room and then turn it off and go get the rest of the stuff in a cocktail bar. And they have dishes of peanuts too…

The 4×5 monorail studio camera has shrunk to an APS-C mirror-less with very little loss of quality. As far as quantity goes, it is capable of doing 100 x the amount of work for 1/100th of the expense. I need no Polaroid, no Kodak, no Spotone. I can retouch in ten minutes what would have taken be ten hours to do…and I can do it perfectly.

I work dry, comfortable, and with no cleaning up to do at the end. My water bill is miniscule.

Soooo…perhaps I was wrong about the photoverse contracting  –  it has really expanded beyond all imagination.


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