Shapes And Sizes

I was really on the fence about this image when I first scanned it and I had to stare at it for a while before ultimately deciding to publish it.

I photographed this with a Mamiya RZ67 and a relatively wide angle 65mm lens (sixty-five is fairly wide in the 6x7 medium format). Being pretty close to my subject, the model's curves and the lines of her body are rather exaggerated. My first gut instinct was to come to the conclusion that the image was too distorted and therefore flawed in some ways. However, after walking away for a little while and coming back to the image later, my opinion has pretty much done a one hundred eighty degree shift and now I am drawn to it and even fond of it in many ways.

In particular I like the sharpness in the model's armpit and the right side of her torso. From there the image has a very nice focus fall off going across to the left side, including what you can see of her lips and the dark hair falling down the side of her face. It's nice and subtle and looks great on the screen and even better in print.

It just goes to show that sometimes it is not the best idea to go with your gut and instead it is worth taking the time to think about your images before forming an opinion. Not to turn this blog post into a "film vs. digital" type thing, but may be the number one reason why digital photography scares me. Not just for my own purposes, but in grander societal type context. With digital photography it is so easy to make a snap judgement about your work the moment you make it and then to act accordingly. In other words, I'm willing to bet there are a lot of brilliant images that just get instantly deleted by the photographer because the instant review on the screen did not meet their initial expectations. 

When working with film, I'm a little more forced to analyze my work over a longer time span. Between exposing an image, developing it, scanning it, printing it, etc. I am revisiting the same frame over and over again allowing my opinion to shift. You'd be surprised how many images I change my mind about after viewing it a second, third, or even fourth time.