Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Vanity fair


Did you wash?
Montreal, QC, August 2010

It's hard to believe in the age of pervasive digital everything that photography was once a rarely used, rather expensive pursuit. Cameras came out only on special occasions, and the only pictures that resulted were rather conventional and repetitive. We're all familiar with the result - namely posed shots of groups of people standing next to each other and smiling uncomfortably into the lens - and aside from the folks actually in the shot, no one ever wants to see any of these pictures again.

Digital has turned the act of pressing the shutter into something less noteworthy. We no longer question whether or not it's worth it before we give our fingertip that final push. We shoot first and worry later, if at all. This has a bit of a dark side, of course, as we risk not thinking through a given scene because "we can always play with it later." Once upon a time there was no going back once we took the shot. Now, of course, everything's editable. Still, this is a minor quibble, for anything that encourages more creativity can't necessarily be a bad thing.

In my own case, I find myself taking far more everyday-mundane pictures than I ever did in the era of film. I use the process not as a final canvas - which film was - but as a place to begin exploring. I'm less afraid to experiment - and fail - because I figure I'll learn something new along the way.

On this day, we were visiting friends, and the still-life-timelessness of the washroom that faced the family room was too good to pass up. In the end, the scene isn't spectacular, it isn't huge, it isn't iconic in any way. But it's as real as it gets to the folks who live here. And after years of being passed over in favor of two-dimensional head shots, it was this washroom's turn to pose.

Your turn: As sepia winds down, I hope you'll pull out an ordinary-themed pic of your own. Just go here to get started. New Thematic theme launches tomorrow (Thursday) at 7 p.m. Eastern. I'll announce precisely what that theme will be in the morning...still mulling it over, and still open to suggestions.

5 comments:

theVibeGirl said...

My favourite parts of interior design are the bedroom and the bath. The two most personal areas in your home can range from lavish to utilitarian, but remain appreciable all the same.

In this photograph, the clean white simplicity of the sink draws the viewer's attention to the rustic faucet. Nice shot!

theVibeGirl said...

(On second glance, the doorknob is more rustic that the faucet.)

Lynne H. said...

I see a poem in that picture...may i?

Snaggle Tooth said...

Hello again Carmi! What I think are very amusing are all the movie films my Dad took of folks standing still waving at the cam with that same stiff smile!

I'm also amused to find you showing a faucet pic again! Your Fave- I do like those knobs... n the sepia.
I do miss my old film SLR n paper prints, n the set-up n thought of every clicked frame.

Magically, I didn't even know what you were doing this week, but have a post beginning with a sepia tone pic up already! (perhaps I have ESP)

Karen Sather said...

I completely understand the need to take this photo! There are many a bathrooms, mostly in public places that make me want to snap a few, and I usually do!