20 November 2009

Barda Hills boy, Gujarat

How long before he's in Mumbai?
This boy was probably one of this woman’s grandsons. 
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


the watercats said...

The colours in this photo are beautiful! and that young fella, well, he'd make me smile allll day!

Bill said...

Wow Pete. I know you've got nice lenses, do you shoot full frame too?

pohanginapete said...

Watercats, glad you like the photo. It'd be hard not to respond in kind to an impish smile like that. :^)

Bill, no, it's all APS-C. Sometimes I think wistfully about a full-frame camera, but the 20D's all I have. (Great photos of the runners, BTW — congratulations on such excellent work).

Bill said...

Thanks, Pete. I sort of have to laugh at your kindly appraisal, but thank you. I was given a camera two years ago and started up. I'm now thinking of turning my back on it due to all the goddam gear, stuff, software, hardware required and the certainty that still the wistfulness for something like a full-frame camera would remain. I don't want or need such gnawing cravings. So - I'm relieved you're not having a full frame camera. It's wincingly disturbing to me that I can't ask you about your photography without asking about your photography budget. I want to know about your printing life, but this seems crass as a discussion on filtration systems on in-ground swimming pools. It's too much. Too much just to make a thing.

Bill said...

And then there is the camera's insistent attachment to the appearance of things.

And there's archival management, which may be the worst thing of all -- I don't want a searchable database of 100,000 image files! It's like amnesia in away, to keep living an instant in time over and over again, the way amnesiacs do with the present. Aeii! I want to forget.


pohanginapete said...

Bill, no need at all to apologise. They're valid points you make; I've found myself thinking similar things, and I still do. Sometimes I go through periods when I want to put the camera away and say, "Enough!". Sometimes I look at my photos and feel like disowning most of them. But I've been photographing for so many years now I've learned to recognise those phases and know they'll pass; know there'll be times when I'll look at my photos and think not about disowning them, but whether I can ever again match the best of them. So, I keep photographing. I realise by now that this, and writing, is what I do — not to "earn a living" (I earn almost nothing from either) but because I have to photograph, I have to write.

I won't go on, but I'd encourage you to stick with your photography. From what I've seen of your work you have a strongly individual eye and I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates sharing something of what you see, even it leaves you dissatisfied. If you're unconvinced, I'll point you to the first stanza of section V of T.S. Eliot's poem East Coker (one of the Four Quartets); Eliot spoke of writing but I think it's just as true of photography. "For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."

I agree: the technical aspects of photography, particularly in its modern, computer-oriented incarnation, can leave one with a kind of existential nausea. When that happens to me, I think of it as a warning to focus on what I saw; to try to show others what I felt.

Not sure if that helps or even makes sense, but thanks for the thoughts, Bill.

Bill said...

Pete, thanks. What you've written I'm sure will be of use to me as I continue to weigh things out about whether I want to go behind a lens. I'll doubtless return several times to reread this.

I think I get what you say about feeling compelled to photograph. I've little doubt that problematic, magnificent light will continue to intrude into my life in unsettling ways, as it always has. A feeling of helplessness will be central to how I respond, photographically or otherwise.

Bill said...

I wonder I don't see the urge to take pictures (when it has come upon me) as being somewhat defensive in its nature, a coping mechanism. I hope this isn't too personal, but for me it's certainly pertinent, and that is that too often I feel as if I've been mugged by my vision. My eyesight can really give me trouble. Usually I can cruise along but sometimes I feel it is crucial that I see things distinctly and cannot (by any standards I have decent vision). I foam and fizz, my stomach cramps, my body freezes and aches -- I think I have tenfold the capacity to react negatively to what I see as I do to react positively. Luckily my strong negative responses, scalding as they may be are sporadic. It seems possible that my negative capability stretches my aesthetic range. Hopefully a sort of tilling is going on when I get battered by the light. And at any rate there is certainly a feeling of being helplessly caught in a difficult situation, and lo and behold it's Super Photography! - the great equalizer- to the rescue! With the proper shiny lens I can snatch the damsel Clarity out of harms way, off to my computer display where I can delete all her foggy anxiety, and crop her uncertainties away.

Sorry, I've gone on too long again. I thank you for your tolerance as I think my way through this stuff. I really do appreciate it.

Bill said...

Aach I got a little silly there. I crouch over my display for long hours not to resolve everything to clarity but to come to terms with visual confusion and uncertainty, to come to some position on it while in the comfortable and relatively more controlled environment of my home. At home I have an advantage on that which can perplex me, sometimes miserably.

pohanginapete said...

Bill, it's not tolerance, it's interest. Bouncing ideas around generally works out more useful when someone else can bounce them around too, not necessarily sending them back but perhaps sending them off on other tracks (which might or might not be productive).

It certainly sounds as if you're struggling mighty hard with how to translate your vision into something accessible not just for others, but yourself. Maybe photography will work out to be just part of the approach you'll eventually develop; maybe it'll be the primary approach; maybe you'll find some other way — painting, video/film, sculpture, writing, or something else entirely (perhaps incorporating elements of all those and more). The only thing I'd be reasonably certain about is that the shiny new lens (or the $30-a-tube paint) will probably prove to be more a distraction than a help.

Cheers, and good luck Bill.

Bill said...

Wonderful comment, Pete, about the shiny new lens. I get so grabby for the shiny lens that I buy one and then what -- surprise! I'm bored with all my shiny new pictures. Maybe it's not paraphernalia that I tire of. Maybe it's eyesight.