I’ve been sitting here for a while, lulled into peace about closing the photography business, happy I am still going to be a hobbyist photographer, and also knowing that the past year has drained much of the joy I feel out of photography.
I recently did a project for an artist friend, taking pictures of her own artwork for use for her website. The project was fun from start to finish. And despite her offering, I didn’t let her pay me. I’d taken on the project because I believe in her artwork and wanted to do my part to help her succeed, and that was enough for me to put my own effort into it. It’s so strange… for so many years I felt like I wouldn’t have “arrived” into my art unless I could sell it for money. But with my experiences since April of 2017, I am coming to see that in placing a monetary value to my art, it limited my photography’s value in my own eyes. Somehow, my photography now feels more valuable to me when I get to choose my projects, for the intrinsic value of believing in the project. I get to control the value of the photography when I choose which projects to take on, and I always crave control.
In that vein, I am going to take on a period of limited use of the autofocus lenses. I am serious about fine art documentary photography, and I’ve been reading about the slow photography movement. Slow photography is about studying subjects and focusing more on the experience of photographing the subject, less on the volume of output. More studied outcomes, less spray and pray. Manual focus requires a different set of skills than simply frenetic looking for the “moment.” I’m interested in learning more about zone focusing for my photos of the boys, for example.
For the next few days, that single 50mm prime lens will be my parents’ Minolta 50mm MD Rokkor-X f1.4 lens that they more or less let me “permanently” borrow. However, Jared let me have my 2018 Christmas present nearly two months early and I now have a Minolta 50mm MD Rokkor-X f1.2 lens on order– a thrift store find at a phenomenal price. When it arrives, it will be bolted to the X-T2 for the next six months, aside from the wedding in December or other projects for friends that may come up. We’ll see what comes out of the project trial.