One of the things that drew me to photography was the mix of the technical and artistic. I built my first large format camera, built numerous darkrooms, developed my own film, studied the zone system etc. However, I’ve always been concerned about spending so much time on the technical aspects (going down the rabbit hole so to speak) that I forget about being creative.
This past weekend at Photo LA I heard a talk from the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio. These folks have gone way down the rabbit hole and are exploring every technical aspect of photography, from making a truck size camera, to making their own photographic material and chemicals. To boot, all of the natural resources they use are pulled from the environment that they photograph. They’ve managed to make the technical problem solving of the photographic process part of their art journey.
This is exciting to me, because I think photography can be made richer by allowing some of the “craft” aspects to filter through. This goes a bit against what I was always taught, that in art concept matters most and HOW the image is made doesn’t matter. I don’t really believe that, for me the journey, the technique, the camera all play an interesting part in creation of the final art work.