A Holiday Wish
Hello fellow LICP’ers.
This year, several family members asked me what I would like for Christmas. While we don’t officially celebrate Christmas, we always get together, open gifts, have a Bloody Mary and share a meal while a fireplace warms us. But since they asked, I gave that question some serious thought. Of course, any gift I would want would have to be connected to photography. I no longer care if I have a beautifully styled shirt. The need for a new tie disappeared even longer ago. I still have two that seem to work for every “ties required” occasion that almost never arises. The question became very hard to answer, partially because I already have a great camera and enough lenses to cover me for wherever my creativity would lead. However, a Hasselblad H6D-50C Medium Format beauty does get my attention every time I see one. It is really expensive. Extremely expensive…$15,000 plus tax, without a lens. My family, no matter how much they love me, could not and would not spend that kind of money on a camera. Even for me. But… maybe I could negotiate. What if I suggested that this gift could also represent my next five or ten birthday/Christmas presents? My wife might go for it by chipping in with them if I suggested forfeiting my next ten wedding anniversary gifts.
Who am I kidding? A camera like that is not in my future. So reality rolls in at full speed and I begin to think, “Why do I want such an expensive camera anyway?” Is there a magic button on it that when pressed, will point it’s lens to the most interesting subject and snap it displayed in the most gorgeous light ever seen? The truth is, some people take great pictures with all kinds of devices that allow them to print, share and post their images without owning a Hasselblad or it’s equivalent. I’m realizing that the most important aspect to eye-popping photography is learning to “see,” and how to capture what you see as technically and aesthetically pleasing as possible. And if you fall short, consider that time spent as practice… and try again.
These days there are many, many free courses available on line that can teach you everything from aperture settings to zoom lenses. I gravitate towards the lighting how to’s: natural light, strobe setups, LED setups and multiple source lighting. Maybe I’ll request one of those as my gift. Before Covid shut everything down, I loved to visit museums. Where else could you see an Annie Leibovitz photograph in the same building as a Rembrandt or a John Singer Sargent painting? These are three artists I admire immensely and always look to for inspiration.
Where does creativity come from anyway? Some say you have to be born with it. Others believe you can learn it. My three closest friends are musicians and another is a wood and antique refinisher. While they don’t really know an F stop from a pit stop, they have a general interest in the arts, a desire to experience it and most importantly, they think my photography should be in a museum. Just kidding. The point is…I believe creativity rubs off. Look back at all those groups of artists, writers, musicians that formed groups, schools and “movements.” Ok, maybe some of them were drunks and or a little crazy but I’d bet most were extremely dedicated and spent an insane amount of time pursuing their passion for art. Please, I’m not hinting you divorce your wife and marry a fine art painter for inspiration, as Alfred Stieglitz did, but putting in the time, joining clubs, (LICP for one, oh, and renewal starts next month) visiting galleries and museums when they reopen, and reading and practicing are all easier and cheaper ways to advance your photographic skills without a megabucks camera.
Happy New Year and stay well!