This blog post is inspired by a Photography Exhibition I went to today.
The Exhibition featured the images of Chris Donaldson, Frank Alvaro, Ray Finneran, Enrico Scotece and Paul Dorahy, three of whom I have known personally for many years. They specialise in Medium Format Monochrome Film Photography, and develop and print their own images.
“Solitary Moments” for them are those moments when they pre-visualise the idea and image, then spend the time photographing the scene, with the camera on a tripod. It is quite likely that they may only take 1 – 4 images in a day… Their “Solitary Moments” continue in the act of developing the negatives and seeing the finished prints appear ‘like magic’ in the developing tray.
Having experienced the above, I can certainly identify with the “Solitary Moments” they are speaking about.
Shooting Medium Format Film from a tripod-mounted camera slows you down. This helps you get a feel for the scene that you want to photograph i.e. the greater connection you have with the subject the greater chance you have of communicating what you want to say. Here the pre-visualisation continues as you imagine what the final image will look like before you take the photo.
It is later, in the Darkroom that you continue the process to achieve what you set out to communicate initially.
It reminds me of the “Solitary Moments” I have and am experiencing in my aim to become a better writer of Poetry and my fledgling steps of becoming an Oil Painter.
The processes whilst different in terms of the technology used, have some parallels.
I remember on my last trip to Joadja, a historical Shale Mining town in New South Wales, Australia. I took my camera gear and a visual art diary, pens and pencils with me.
These days I shoot digital and whilst the urge was there to do what many do with DSLR’s these days, i.e. shoot a 100 shots and then move on, I decided to sit down and ‘get a feel’ for what was in front of me, absorb the sense of history whilst studying the light and possible compositions.
The pencils came out first and I began to make some rough sketches after walking around the subject. I jotted down in a few words about how I felt and what I was seeing (which later became the poem below). The camera came out next and I again walked around the scene, pausing to take it all in before I started to shoot.
“Solitary Moments” are precious things to experience.
They also come whilst I am fleshing out an idea for a poem, when I sit at my canvas and endeavour to communicate what I feel I want to say, or when I am writing a speech.
I, like the photographers in today’s exhibition are looking forward to many more…
Written by David Johnson
1 May 2016
The Bowral Art Gallery – home of the Bowral & District Art Society & BDAS workshops. 1 Short Street, Bowral NSW Australia (02) 4861-4093
April 27 to May 10 Solitary Moments – Chris Donaldson, Ray Finneran, Frank Alvaro, Enrico Scotese and Paul Dorahy.
For more “Solitary Moments” click on the following links: