Framing my artistic approach

Framing my artistic approach
Helsinki, March 2024 (Minolta 807si, CineStill 800T)
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Broke my mirrorless camera's viewfinder in backpack that was not really designed to carry expensive glass and electronics in the first place. Had to service it for undefinable period of time.

Yes, on that time I learned the valuable lesson of properly storing and securing your junk. Became painfully knowledgeable on the fact that servicing and changing Sony A7C's EVF costs 500 euros (covered by insurance, so remember to insure your stuff, people).

Past trip to Japan unlocked something deep within me, a true passion of shooting on film, with all the stages of newly acquired hobby. The research, endless research of all the relevant things, I now know way too much about film and film cameras that I ever wanted to. Upping your game, stalking and scrolling online auction sites for gear. The dreaded G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) that looms in every hobby due to mankind's passion for vanity and desire to speed-run towards success.

Now, me being a newly elevated omnipresent in the next plane of existence, passionate need to frame everything fit on 35mm rectangular shape, and bunch of film in my refrigerator. What could possibly go down the next?

Buying film. Buying more film. Buying the film you needn't to.

Yours truly has also have succumbed to this pitfall several times, with synthesizers, games, sneakers or computer components (somehow I avoided this with guitar pedals). But at least now I've got ultra-rare accessories like the Minolta DS-100 to go with my Minolta a7 cameras, yes, cameras. Did I forget to mention the costs of buying rolls of film to burn through during a single month - I'll save that rant for another time and article.

Minolta DS-100, accessory to store exposure data on obsolete SmartMedia cards.

Until it hits you, no gear, no study can make your trade better than learning by doing, and not falling into trap of doing everything alone. Pick up a book, watch a document, or go to a local camera club. I'd like to master my approach with others or picking up skills from the established ones. These days, learning is being more and more out of reach to the actual process of picking up skills, as we wander through the same swathes of YouTube videos and online articles.

There's a plateau waiting every corner. Should you find asking yourself, can I change the way how I create, I'd argue you're on a right track from that very moment forward. Sure, we can't all be a bunch of Bruce Gildens, now can we?

Gear is transitionary, artistic process varies. People either settle with things they enjoy the most or define knowingly theme, a story to convey, evoke emotions via one's expressivity. There are a million tones between comfort and jumping leaps and bounds for that one shot. Do you strive to become better for internal or external reasons, like validating yourself via your work?

I've come to understand that it is a long game, not a sprint. Shinzo Maeda (前田真三) was a Japanese photographer that specialized on landscape photography, picked up a book highlighting his works between 1960s and 1990s. A tightly collected set of countryside photos where seasons changed, with that, also the landscape. Catalog entries showed the span of 30+ years of capturing beautiful East Asian views - either knowingly expanding your portfolio each year or by pure chance you decide to theme your work.

My method and thinking in photography has long been that it is an extension of working memory - capture a moment, and later on, revisit that place and memories of it more effortlessly. Then it clicked, blasting away that shutter accumulates feelings, places, moods into your portfolio. It is up to you, whether to communicate or convey that for others.

I think I'll revisit Mr. Maeda some day as well. His English Wikipedia entry is criminally short at the time of writing this piece.

What really I'd love to do, is a publish a book, create the design and illustrations for it. Maybe even sell a few copies, as long as there's a story in it. I'm a sucker for a great storytelling.

My platform to publish my work is quite limited, I don't Instagram for other than posting 1-2 images from each of my trips across the world, quit Twitter recently, and decided Post, BlueSky and Mastodon were not worth the effort. VSCO community is not really known for its about feedback or engagement, whereas Discord servers provide large communities around the globe, you just got to find your own home.

I love Threads, but am really afraid that its simplicity might be gone some day. For the hype machine, Tiktok and YouTube would be more fit choices. I just don't feel like the hassle for making weekly videos and bootstrapping an action camera into yourself.

In the course of time, I need to move beyond my comfort zone. Challenge myself to become more expressive, engaging with subjects, learning new tricks, composing a tight collection around a theme, joint creation with another artist, reaching out to both local and global communities. Something to spark your creativity.

Happy accidents aside, talent still is something to strive for, keep pressing that shutter button until next time.

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