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Monthly Archives: September 2010
I bought my first real camera when I was around nineteen. It bears noting that that was back in the dark ages when film ruled supreme and digital more likely referred to something manipulated by a finger, like a light switch, than to zeros and ones. My point is, that although popular belief holds that digital is free, which it isn’t, there was an immediate cost associated with exposing film. I quickly learned that increasing the ratio of duds to keepers was a good thing.
One of the first lessons I learned was that my eyes, in combination with the brain, have an amazing ability to ignore that which isn’t of interest, but the camera will capture everything in the viewfinder. Cropping in the camera became even more critical when I discovered that exposing slide film was way cheaper than negatives, but required more attention to exposure and composition, at the front end. Talk about a steep learning curve.
If you’re new to the game, even if it is digital, and you want to spend more time out doors, than staring at a bright screen fixing all your images, think about what you really want to photograph, and crop your image in the camera, in such a way that you eliminate the six lanes of traffic, the light-posts and the dog. Creative compositions don’t just happen, you design them.
People often credit their ideas to individual “Eureka!” moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the “liquid networks” of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s long, slow hunch to today’s high-velocity web.