4.10.2013

The Search. It always boils down to one thing...

Rancher. Hasselblad. 150. Tri-X.

I'm not particularly suited for the field in which I find myself. At least not in the usual sense. You see, while I understand the importance, financially, of customer service and production and diligence, and creating sell-able products; I really just want to be left alone to search.  You see, I'm on the search for the perfect subject. On some level I'm totally convinced that I need to find just the right subject in order for my "genius" as a photographer to be totally understood. Widely acknowledged.  And, of course, I'm therefore on a search for just the right background or setting that will allow my subject to enable me to show off that genius. That's also a search that seems to border on infinite.

But before I can really express the unique inner vision I'll have to make sure the lighting is just right so, of course, I am on a constant and unrelenting search for just the right light. Which means I'm searching for just the right type of light. And I know I'm not there yet because that genius  hasn't leapt out and made itself known just yet. But after two decades of focused searching I have narrowed down the field a bit. The ultimate lighting, as gleaned from my reading, research and experience is either: natural light, electronic flash, tungsten, fluorescent or LED light. Or, perhaps some sort of light that hasn't been invented yet. But never fear, the search continues unabated.

The unsettling thing about the search for exactly, irrefutably, unquestionably, the right light is the fact that the moment I find just the right light I'll need to ramp up the search for just the right modifier. Because the modifier completes the light.  But that's a whole other series of blogs just waiting to be written, because, of course, I am sure there is one right modifier for the perfect light. It's all like pieces of some cosmic puzzle. But the search for the perfect modifier has to take a back seat to other, more pressing, searches in the job of expressing my genius... Like which camera to use in the high calling of creating "genius level" images to share with the world.

That's a search that seems to take most people a life time and that's a pity because the importance of the search is critical to finally being able to realize one's true visual genius. My readers will understand that the search is well underway here. I guess my strictly scientific methodology is to buy and use every camera in every category because the definition of the ultimate camera is a very subjective thing and, once we've sorted through and created a hierarchy of objective metrics I'll need to go back and work with each camera to truly parse it's immeasurable qualities.  Things like the camera's "soulfulness" or the pitch and aesthetic merit of the sound of its shutter. And, of course, whether it feels sexy enough in one's hands...

But my search for my ultimate camera---vital for the ultimate realization of my genius vision---is somewhat stymied by my search for the ultimate lens. (I know only that it cannot be a wide angle). What if my ultimate lens is only made for an un-ultimate camera? Will the promise of my potentially life altering vision be extinguished like a soaring bird shot down from the sky? Are there enough gifted optical technicians out there to convert say, an early dual range 50mm Leitz Summicron (with Lanthanum glass) with seven elements to work on the front of a Leica SL2 body, equipped with a Phase One 180 back? If they can't pull it off will my vision be in jeopardy? And will the technicians be able to retrofit an EVF into that older body?

Ah. The agony of getting everything just right and then realizing that a newer camera tests .001% better on DXO's sensor evaluation system....

But maybe I'm looking at the wrong "genius" spread sheet. Maybe the real search is one for meaning. How disappointing if my real search should be about looking for beauty in life instead of ultimate sharpness. How will I measure beauty when I find it? And how will I improve on transcendant beauty if I don't even know which lens is the right one? Or which body resonates with the beauty paradigm I finally discover?

I guess I'm destined to keep looking until I find that absolute, multi-threaded intersection of technical perfection. The search for beauty and meaning? It'll have to wait. I've got so much equipment evaluation to get through first...






14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear that Hasselblad is going to release a medium-format smartphone that fits in your pocket, and Zeiss is going to make a 20-200 F2 lens that clips on.

So when your son marries that supermodel, you will be all set.

Anonymous said...

"Let’s start with the basics — It’s not the amount of kit you have, it’s what you do with what you have. Snip

Key thing is find the kit that works for you, make it as minimal as you can.

Then use it.

Relentlessly."

John Stanmeyer

http://stanmeyer.com/blog/pages/whats-the-kit/

-salty

Kirk Tuck said...

Hello, my literal friends. This is satire.

ODL Designs said...

I thought it was funny, but like the jokes that get you going, you know deep down it is a reflection of the truth... But on the subject of Genius, have you seen this TED talks video?

http://blog.ted.com/2009/02/09/elizabeth_gilbe/

Anonymous said...

I didn't miss the satire bit my "genius" friend. We with IQs above "100 "and previously Dektol stained fingers know.. I await a plethora of b+w portraits posted to this site. If you get a brain cloud, grab the Hassy and some TX.

Where are the new pix?

-salty

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,

Your post is perfect for me. I don't have anything interesting to say in my photos, but like you, I'm looking for the right magic object that I can use to create exquisite renderings of everything I look at. I love the feeling I get when I look at a slick, insanely saturated high DR photo with "buttery" bokeh on 500px--it's like getting a gentle breeze to blow over the surface of your brain. Now that's all I want--in every photo ever!!! Also, when I'm not using my camera, I stare, ape-like, at the magic object in my hands. I imagine its powerful sensor, its razor-sharp glass...Oh, I should stop myself!

-Christopher

PS--I've recently discovered that I like taking pictures of really poor people in other countries. There's nothing better than the satisfaction of pointing your camera at a subject, and knowing that your camera costs more than he/she has ever made. I like the expressive details of misery I can capture with good high iso performance.

Kirk Tuck said...

Ahhhh. Christopher. Now you can be the "Global and Benevolent" photographer and get paid by the NGO's.

Frank Grygier said...

I have narrowed my search for the lack of genius in my work to the ball head on my tripod. It stares back at me in contempt with that little green eyeball and laughs at my futile attempts at art.

Paul Crouse said...

Have you heard of the Buddhist concept of "the hungry ghost"?

Kirk Tuck said...

No. flesh it out for me...

John Krumm said...

Funny, I just saw a 500 pix collection of portraits like that, with the bent over ladies carrying bundles of sticks, perfectly lit by flash as the sun sets behind. Not sure what that's about, but it gets lots of likes.

John Krumm said...

Landscape photographers can just blame the weather. It's either too dull, or too sunny, or a bald blue sky, or windy, too rainy, or some other reason to read a blog instead of take photos.

Anonymous said...

...and growing older we will end up seeing beauty with our ears and noses.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the part about the Hasselblad smartphone was sarcasm, too.

But if you get a call from Gothenburg on a phone that sounds like someone is straining to carry it around, ask them.