Outside the Termini train station. Roma.
This isn't a Holga image. I added some blur in the darkroom using a small device called a Pictrol. It was a device that was like an iris that you put on your enlarging lens. You could then dial in the amount of edge blur you might want. When you dialed it in little, wavy, transparent plastic blades (like the aperture blades on a lens) would stick into the light path and distort the edges of the frame. Close the blades all the way down and you'd have total soft focus over the entire print.
I didn't mount the Pictrol on my englarging lens. I preferred to hold it under the lens so I could move it around during the exposure for random mixes of hard and soft light in different parts of the frame. That's part of the technique you see in many of the images I present here that were originally interpreted on prints.
But this wasn't meant to be a primer on the dying art of enlarger printing.
The photo above reminded me of the magic times when you are totally in the moment and you walk through a city looking from side to side and everything you see is a photograph. You don't stop to think about whether or not people will like what you see or if it will pass muster as art or whether your parents will understand. You're walking and it's a brisk day and you are unencumbered and free. You are in a state of total self-determination.
It never hits me the first day in a city. In fact, given my track record I should just leave the camera in my hotel room for the first 24 hours after arriving. But somewhere around the third or fourth day you start to ease into the rhythms of the city and you just float through street after street. You've become an anonymous drifter. You have little or no skin in the game and you just seem to be able to lift the camera to your eye and make art.
And even if, when you return home, you later discover that all the images seem like crap you remember the wonderful feeling of capturing them and it's okay. The ultimate pleasure is to come back and examine your work and find that you really love it. And then it transports you back to the moment you clicked the shutter and you somehow knew you'd gotten the best image a particular scene had to offer.
For me, getting into the moment requires that I have no schedule, no appointments and no itinerary. I need to be able to follow my nose and my camera. If my target is the fresh produce market but nothing is happening there I need to be able to change direction without inertia and continue along another path. When I go with the preconception of what I expect to get it never happens the way I would like. If I think that I'm just going out for a walk, for exercise or fresh air, then images present themselves. And if I go out without a camera beautiful stuff is everywhere.
When I go out now I take a notebook and a camera. I write when there's nothing to see and I see when there's nothing to write about....