Taking the shortest route isn’t the most satisfying in photography
I read a tweet last night asking if instagram was the autotune of photography. I think they were referring to the use of creative filters to ‘lift’ an otherwise dull photograph into something at least vaguely quirky, but that overtime all photos start to look the same.
This reminded me of a photography project I did about two and a half years ago, when I acquired a (1960s?) kodak duaflex for a fiver and shot photos using my dslr ‘though the viewfinder’. The duaflex has two lenses – one that exposes the film and one that projects onto a mirror and the onto a large optical viewfinder on the top. I found the project quite engaging – I had to make a cardboard sleeve to connect my camera/lens to the camera with. As I don’t have a macro lens this required a two foot tube to allow my kit lens to focus, which also meant walking around with what was ostensibly a cardboard periscope.
Holding a digital camera, and shooting it down a cardboard tube, focussing on the viewfinder, checking the exposure and also framing a photo (whilst trying to deal with the fact the viewfinder image was inverted, so you have to move the camera in the ‘wrong’ direction) actually made me stepback and think about the shot, rather than just firing off multiple frames.
Looking at my photos, they all have exactly the same feel, just like instagram photos all look the same. The flecks of dust are reassuringly in the same places in every photo. But whilst everyone else’s instagram photos look similar, mine are uniquely identical.