The Delights Of Seeing

Yellow, ©2012 Dave Ortiz

Minor White’s very last picture was a polaroid made by an SX-70 camera and it was of a red rose  (I maybe mistaken but it was definitely a red flower) and it was out of focus. Walker Evans’ last body of work were also SX-70 polaroids. Evans once said, “No one should touch a polaroid camera until he is over sixty”. It seems that these two great photographers after a lifetime of seeing and creating decided to trim away all the photographic fat and use the most efficient means available at the time to just see and make pictures. That was and is the magic of the polaroid process. It was evident that they saw the wisdom (or necessity because of age) of trimming away all of what was unnecessary in the photographic process. Evans again, “Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.” 

© Walker Evans

I am nowhere near the ages of Evans and White when they took up the polaroid camera. I am hopefully in my most active time of life. But I have also felt the constraints of all of the equipment and gadgets that inevitably pile up in a photographers closet; cameras, lenses, scanners, printers, film… I have 5 film cameras alone. I finally decided that I wanted only one camera and one or two lenses and that’s it. With the recent Kodak announcements and news I knew a film camera was not the way to go. Besides I was tired of scanning film. It ate up too much time. I just want to be able to venture into the world, shoot, edit and post images to my website and blog and occasionally print an on demand book. Gallery show are too few and really far between and so when that happens I’ll have prints made at my favorite New York Photo Lab. I was really excited about the Nikon D800 but that was $3,000, way too much for me. But with the advent of the Nikon D800 everyone and their grandfather was dumping their old D700 and so I was able to pickup a D700 body (I already have several excellent Nikon prime lenses) for half the price of a new D800. I was able to setup the camera and go shooting quickly and since I only had 7 days in which to return the camera I wanted to make sure the camera was all that I wanted. I was a little leery but hopeful because I loved shooting with my little Panasonic GF1 and this was a full frame sensor I was working with. I was not disappointed. The photo at top was taken this afternoon along with the one below.

American Spirit, ©2012 Dave Ortiz


Point, shoot, post. Ah, the sheer joy of seeing! Anybody want to buy a film camera?


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