The inspiration behind the guitar shots of the previous post came from a set I did of my son - some years ago. Never filed by date order my negatives still exist in 10 (thick) loose leaf files of black and white 35mm and 6X6 neg's. It is a curious thing, but looking at the negatives it is possible for me to remember taking the shot, exposing the negative - not the physical act of pressing the shutter release, but the time and sometimes the moment. I don't know why this is. I wonder whether in years to come I will remember in the same way the moment when I pressed the shutter release on my digital cameras? I think I remember taking the photographs (digital) that have become something i.e a print. Whereas with film, the finite supply, implies the greater need there is for consideration, which brings a greater investment - of course with medium format it is just that it takes a lot longer to press the shutter release (sometimes infuriatingly so). Whereas with digital there is a perception that any depression of the shutter release is for "free" and, therefore, maybe "free-er" of attachment? But that is a topic of conversation aside from this post. Possibly it is the physical process of composition, capturing, processing and viewing - those additional process components in the creation of an image that generates within each negative a greater level of investment? Of course it could be that the deterioration of short term memory is a likely accompaniment with the passing of years?
These shots were taken on Ilford FP4 plus ASA 125 and with - I think - a Tamron 90mm lens, lit by a single tungsten lamp. The lighting is harsh and contrasty and from the subjects right (just), and above head height (just). I had asked Mark to bring the guitar - his first as he was taking lessons and enjoying it.
Looking at the photographs now the composition is very passive. The placement of his eyes are very central to the frame and looking at the (digital) contact sheet of only these guitar shots there is very little variance to that contact point. I would have focussed on his eyes, something I learned to do with the first portraits I made - which were amongst the first photographs I took (I still have the first negative I processed!). These seem very quiet photographs; the composition, the lighting, the "passivity" of the poses all compound to that air of "stillness" and whilst Mark's expression is blank, he holds onto the guitar much in the same way some twenty years later in the previous post. This is something to consider as I develop this portrait of the boy becoming man. Or is it about the parent letting go of the child?
It appears that I have used some diffusion on the shot below left - this would have been to experiment rather than develop a narrative for the shot - though the wistfulness of the shot echoes Mark's personality. I'll leave the trip down memory lane for the time being, though I suspect if I stay with Mark as the portrait, there will be further examinations.