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...
Posted by Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer at 10:12