Bob & Faith-Blog Post 4

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In the fall of 2012, I took advantage of an opportunity and signed up for the last “View Camera” class offered at McDowell Technical Community College. Film was quickly being put on a back-burner, and I truly wanted to know if I was the least bit interested in the photographic qualities afforded me by a large format camera. They are heavy, cumbersome, hot, and they take a lot of study and knowledge to even begin to have a useable photograph, much less consistently produce excellent work in such a pursuit. The exposures are sometimes a best guess(ie. Moon Over Hernandez by Ansel Adams) as the equipment is old, it is not sure-fire as shutters don’t always work and light can leak in and every one of the old view cameras has its own personality, so it’s best to use the same one every time and get to know the crotchety old piece. It’s your best chance for success in a graded class. Terms such as shift, tilt, rise and fall, swing, and back tilt are mantras spoken under a black hood in 80 degree heat…if I made a successful photo(we used Polaroid Instant Film) then I got to pack it up and call it a day…but that was rare. Surely a line would be converging, which shouldn’t, focus would be totally out, and sometimes you went to class and hung your head..cause your work was just bad. My professor would say ..”you got time, go out and re-shoot..” To re-shoot a concept meant you had better learn it..and come back with something nearing success for a passing grade. I think I learned how to shoot that camera passably, because of the re-shoots I did that fall. That’s how this photo came about. My in-laws were on their deck and said they would pose for me using the camera. This was the second shot..this photograph stood out to me. I liked the sharper focus of my mother-in-law versus the softer plane of focus from where my father-in-law was standing. I have often thought that I did manage to capture them that day with the view camera and see something from within that old giant camera body, that I would not have been able to see with my digital camera. It’s 2016 now…Bob passed away in July of 2014..Faith in September of 2015. I think that I(we) received a gift from an old camera that day in 2012…an image of a happy couple surrounded by family, a view into the past and the present.

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