My Struggle

Contact Sheet, John Masters

I think 2018 will be the year that I might figure out how to get past the wall of despair and pain I have been railing against these past few years. The wall is built with the pain and broken dreams caused by working with digital images. Because I ventured off on many side quests and other acts of fuckery, there is nothing left to do but hunker down and solve the problem. That problem is how to make digital images look the way I feel they should. Subjective I know, impossible, maybe we shall see.

I bought my first digital camera in 2004 and just two years later I sold it and went back to film. The reason for the short foray into digital back then was I could not render the photos as I thought they should look and the black and white digital process sealed the deal. When I became disgusted with digital on that first go, I went down a dark road, and bought lots of film cameras. I bought all the film cameras I ever wanted growing up and even some I didn’t know existed. After a few years I realized what a boob I had been. All that excess gear sent me into a bad place artistically speaking. I was not shooting much, I was confused about which camera I should bring and even sometimes how to use it. It was driving me insane and I finally pushed the button and sold most of my gear just to get above the water line to breath. I kept just a few primary cameras I used often such as my Leica M cameras.

In 2016 the Leica M digital cameras intrigued me because they were all so well… not fancy. Very few buttons and basically the same operations as my film M cameras.  I took the plunge and got me some digital camera action back.  I also will shoot film as I want or need for an assignment.  I guess it’s what everyone is now calling a hybrid shooter. Shooting film or digital both have their strengths and weaknesses. Film is easy for me, but it can be expensive, and digital well… that is where I find myself against this wall. All these years later, I still struggle to get the images to look the way I feel they should. I have gotten better and my workflow is refined and fast.  I am basically at war with the sensor, fighting the modern look and feel of things. I don’t want sharp images with almost out of this world colors, and all the bling that can be achieved with the digital workflow.  I have a good base to work with… and so the struggle continues as I refine this process, and maybe one day soon I will have arrived at my destination

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