Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh, I know it isn't Christmas!

But, every day is a good day to discuss photography, n'est-ce pas? See the white thing in the lower left? it was caused by the flashcord in front of the lens catching the burst of light from the flash. It doesn't help that whoever was taking the picture didn't look at the ground glass viewfinder enough to position the tree as perpendicular to the floor, which it surely was. Our family has a lot of photos like this. I am sure if anyone had bothered to think about it, Dad could have crafted a solution which kept the cord back--he was great at stuff like that--but at this time in the life of our family, this was a problem of small moment. Going through our family snaps after my mother's death, I really began to sneer at the poor Brownie Reflex and its inadequacies. Nevertheless, I am very happy to have this picture of me in my snappy glasses and my curled bangs decorating the tree with such concentration along with my sister in the very early 1950s.

In summer, when I am taking a lot of photos, I usually treat myself to some good photography monographs. Here is a passage I found in one I got this week:

"My first photograph was of a train. I was eleven in the summer of 1943 when Boston and Maine's Number 74 came steaming around the curve into the depot at Putney, Vermont. I used my mother's little red box Brownie camera to make the picture. The following Christmas she gave me a Brownie Reflex, which had a square format and a ground glass. I am sure that little gem of a camera, in which one composed the image by looking into its ground glass, has a great deal to do with why I have been so at home using the Rollieflex and the Hasselblad, both of which have a ground glass. . . Since 1968 I have used Hasselblads exclusively for all my work. I am still convinced that my early experience with the Brownie Reflex is the reason I am completely at home with the square."
from David Plowden: Vanishing Point, Fifty Years of Photography,
New York, W..W. Norton and Company. n.d.
This $100 book is available from Amazon for $67.50. The photographs are impeccable, the reproductions excellent, and the introduction by the photographer a compact marvel of honest truth-telling about a life well-lived. If you don't want to buy it, try to get your library to get one, so you can see it!

No comments:

Post a Comment