The mindset leading to the manifesto
After the little dance in my mind over bourbon, I got to thinking that I should just extend my digital break. I began to tell people that I was taking a break from pixels. I started browsing old-skool photography websites. I found instructions online to build a pinhole panoramic camera which shoots 6×12 on 120 film. I dug out my Ansel Adams books.
I shot film. I developed my entire backlog. I figured out a crude, unreliable way to scan negatives without a backlight. I created a Flickr set called Back to Basics, in which I posted the results. I joined Flickr groups in order to have my new work seen by others, and in order that I might be inspired by their work, learn from it, push me further.
And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make this break stick, at least in terms of creative photography. I wanted to document the things around me, and I relished the idea of making do with a small range of parameters.
It occurred to me that I wanted strict guidelines to which to adhere.
In the night of the 17th of October, it occurred to me to draft a document outlining these rules, similar to the one adhered to by Dogma 95 filmmakers. I scratched out a draft immediately (I keep a notebook by the bed for such purposes), simply a list of things I wanted to cover.
The following morning I started this blog.
On reflection, I could have been harder on myself. I could have combined points 3 and 4, since one seems to entail the other. I meant to add a requirement that I use manual exposure and aperture controls (though allowing for a light meter), though the latter is easily enough adhered to since I don’t own any film cameras which do anything for you other than meter light.
It’s important that I state at the outset that unlike Dogma 95, I don’t want to ‘save photography’ — my skills are far too modest, my technique too clumsy for that. I simply want to save my photography. I want to set myself a challenge which I know is on the one hand attainable, but on the other hand strict enough to massage my brain out of its torpor.
Also, I hope I manage to squeeze off some awesome photography.
Wish me luck…