Imperfect captures

I suppose it was St. Patrick's Day that had me sitting on my living room floor on the weekend, with my old portfolio open, holding negatives up to the light. I'm very often an advocate of putting down the camera, cognizant of the barrier the lens can place between you and the present moment, your concrete reality.

But as I looked at these photos, they conjured very tactile memories. I remember the sudden arrest that stopped me in the first place, the special angle of light or the texture of rock that struck me enough to ask to pull over, or had me hanging back while others walked ahead. And the patience then of the capture, shooting with my beloved k1000, waiting for some tourist to move out of my shot, for the clouds to pull back again.

As a photographer I was (and am) often frustrated by how my photographs hooked up to what I saw in my mind's eye. But even in their imperfection these photographs are perfect little talismans transporting me to another time. I can feel the camera against my face, the strap around my neck, the presence of my patient companion, the damp air that even on a warm day makes you shiver.

Sometimes I think about that time in Ireland, how insulated I was, how little I knew of what other people were up to. With our strange 'sphere, it's hard to feel like you're doing anything special when you're exposed to so much. It's easy to feel so overwhelmed by admiration for so many that your little hobbies become worthless. But then it was just me and my camera and I was figuring it all out and falling in love with it and it wasn't about what other people were up to.

I often just want to revert to that time, when I could hang back by myself and make my own imperfect little creations and be so happily, obliviously tinkering about in the world.
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