Thoughtfactory’s large format

a minor blog about the trials and tribulations of large format, film photography in Australia

Currency Creek landscape

On a latter visit to Currency Creek  we walked as far along the creek as we were able to  before hitting  the fences that marked private property/keep out of the farmland.   We returned  to an area just above the waterfall where we could sit and watch the water in the creek. We ---Suzanne, myself, and the standard poodles -- had a small picnic there.

I knew this area from our previous walks,  so I  had some  sense of what I would be photographing. I was starting to think  about what I was going to do at a  photo session before the event. I had  begun realize that the entire process of large format  is very different compared to medium format work,  which is how I had approached the former  when I was restarting large format.  I could also sense that large format gave me a sense of discipline. It slowed you down -- setting up the camera, composing, focusing, locating and handling the film holder before, during and after exposure. 

The conditions  for this photo  were similar  to those  of the earlier Current Creek session --- overcast with  flat light -- but it was in the late afternoon rather than at midday. I made a couple of photographs with the Linhof 5x4 Technika IV.  The process was largely intuitive.

I was beginning to suspect that conceptuality was a necessary part of the process of large format  photography  as opposed to wandering around and photographing whatever took my eye.  I had a vague project in mind with this Currency Creek series.  A study of the creek, including people (ie., models) doing various things along the creek. That was more or less  the extent of the conceptuality. 

As I was not interested in making the highest quality prints,   or exploring the different types of film,  that meant the  conceptuality re photographing Currency Creek was important. However, I struggled with this.  I could not pin point what I was doing conceptuality, or how to go about it. I  knew no one I could  discuss the conceptuality problem  with.  

I was  vaguely aware of linear perspective as a visual paradigm that assumes  the view of a one-eyed and immobile spectator as a norm —and that  this view is itself assumed to be natural, scientific, and objective.  But this visual paradigm,   with its stable observer,  horizon and ground, with its perspective converging at a single vanishing point,  was historically that of photography and large format.   

I became disheartened, lacked confidence,   and I struggled to find the enthusiasm to continue to make further photos of  Currency Creek.