You’re here for the photography, not to hear about my ace cooking skills, so: I shot and developed my first roll of film (Tri-X, shot on a Canon AE-1!) in the summer of 1991. I have a PhD in Philosophy with a specialization in aesthetics, and my dissertation dealt extensively with the unique qualities of photography as a creative endeavor. I run and walk a whole bunch, and I often carry a camera with me when I do. One of the only times I have not finished an ultramarathon race I was running was specifically due to the fact that I was on one of the most beautiful trails in the world (Superior Hiking Trail, MN), and it was a very photogenic day. I live in Chicago with my partner in all adventures and two very photogenic cats.
Human self-consciousness, the fact that we are aware that we are aware, comes with some well documented problems. We tend to ignore or miss the upsides of this, as far as we know, unique trait. Here’s one: when I perceive something that moves me, I have the option of attempting to convey that to you. There are many such methods of conveyance, and most of them are what we call art. Some of these methods of conveyance are complex and involved, and some are effortless and simple. Two that I find fall into the latter category are poetry and photography. For me, photography is more like Basho writing a haiku when he sees a frog plop into a pond (one advantage of poetry over photography: no missed shots) and less like Tolstoy writing War & Peace.
It’s probably not surprising, given the above, that I prefer the simplest of photographic methods: rangefinder cameras that shoot film, or very filmic digital. For me, film represents the simplest, least complicated way to turn something my eyes see into a photograph. A photograph, for me, will always be a piece of paper with an image on it. Photos on screens are handy and nice, but for me they are fast food to a print’s home cooked meal. Sometimes necessary, never sufficient. Concrete details? I shoot Leicas, and I almost always use one of two focal lengths (28mm or 35mm). I also really love the square format, and I occasionally shoot a Rolleiflex. Almost all the film I’ve shot over the years has been Ilford’s HP5+, though a wise friend has led me to see the beauty of FP4+. My midlife crisis involved switching from Rodinal to D76. My pandemic crisis (we get at least one of those, right?) is to finally learn to shoot and develop color print film.