Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Accidental brilliance


This shot of women on a downtown Indianapolis street after a summer rain shower has an accidental brilliance to it that eluded me when I shot it back in 1967.

It might be a stretch to compare it to something by Henri Cartier-Bresson, but that’s the kind of feeling it evokes for me.

I was relatively new to 35mm photography in the mid- and late-‘60s and frequently felt compelled to just point my camera at something – anything – and press the shutter button. When I looked at the negatives later, I never bothered to print these pictures because they were spur of the moment things that had no meaning for me.

Now they do.

There are scores of them, scattered among rolls of film of my wife, my kids, my dog, things that meant something to me at the time.

Now, nearly 50 years later, these are the gems I’m mining my archives to find johneditingand my heart does a little dance every time I peer through my Mamiya loupe on the light box and find one.

Maybe I made so many of those seemingly random photos because I was a small town boy living in a big city with interesting things to see and record all around me.

They seem to be clustered around the period from 1967 to 1975 when I was shooting a lot of black-and-white film and processing most of it myself, but there are plenty of these images in the myriad boxes of color slides and envelopes of color negatives that continue up to the early 2000s before I transitioned to digital photography.

Sadly, since then, they’re not to be found.

Is it because I delete these “throwaway” shots on the spot or is it because I’m more disciplined about what I shoot? It’s ironic that I’m so much more careful about what it shoot now that I can put hundreds and hundreds of images on a single memory card, compared with my willingness to snap off a random shot here and there when my camera could only shoot 36 frames before I had to reload.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad to have them and share them with an amazingly appreciative online audience here and on Facebook. I only wish I had shot more of them.

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