In his photography, Josh Rose tries to capture the “archetypes” of Los Angeles.
Thinking about legacy.
My daughter performed shakespeare at the talent show this last weekend. She was the only thespian in the entire lineup of primarily hula hoopers, dancers and singers. She’s unique in that way. And it got me thinking that she will leave her mark on the school for that reason. They’ll remember that girl who every year for the talent show memorized passages from the works of Shakespeare. They won’t remember the words, but her passion for it. Because it was just such an interesting choice and focus.
But it never enters her mind - this is what I’m leaving behind. I asked her. And she says, “I pretty much just live day-to-day.” And then she added, “But that’s easy for me because you take care of everything else.”
As long as i can, I thought to myself.
This is the requiem for a dream - the way we become more the master of time and resources and that flowing river of haphazardness dries up. Try to count the minutes that you are actually allowed to simply live in that mindset. There have been years - maybe an entire decade - where I grabbed maybe a few hours a week, at best. You can’t hit any rhythm with that kind of schedule. And it eats away at your legacy.
I’m more interested now in not just doing what needs to get done, but figuring out where I can have the most impact, in terms of what I can create. And leave. Art. That happens in life. Things that sat on the back burner start to need heat. You bring them forward and see how it has seasoned over time. If you still have an appetite for it. If so, well, this dish above all - to thine own self be true…
“The Reader.” Leica M240. 50mm Noctilux. and “The Ghost of Gjelina.” Leica M240. 50mm Noctilux. March 8, 2015
Film Is Not Dead.
Every day, somewhere, there’s a hashtag, a blog post or it’s just somebody’s screen name. Film is not dead. I listened to a speech the other day from a well-known photographer - he attempted to describe how digital photography loses its subtlety in the bright side of the spectrum. The long shoulder, as they say. I just sat there. Like I do with the passing of every photo I see tagged with #filmisnotdead. Just sit there and wait it out. I don’t even shake my head.
Sure, sometimes I wish the world wasn’t crazy. But it is and I can’t do nothing bout that. I could explain dynamic range but it’s not really what is being discussed. When people talk about film not being dead, what they’re really saying is that they are traditionalists. That they enjoy the analog process of film photography. And that’s great. I have a record player, too. The defensive phrasing of “film is not dead,” though, I’m not for that. It seems to want to paint digital as some kind of harbinger of bad quality. Or worse - a worsening of the art of photography itself. And I reject that. On account of my bladder.
When writers started switching from typewriters to word processors, nobody mentioned in their forwards: Typewriter Ribbon is Not Dead!
See, the thing about these two shots above is that they were taken the same day. In fact, only a few minutes apart. I had just emerged from a walk street, having taken that first shot and I needed a restroom like nobody’s business. I ran into the restaurant and on the way out of the bathroom, I took the second shot.
Have you ever shot film? Have you ever tried to use low ISO film in a dark restaurant? Sure, you can switch it out. But not on a full bladder.
People want to talk about dynamic range, but they don’t want to talk about just plain range. I’m talking about a camera that can move from indoors to outdoors. I’m talking about a camera that can shoot off 5 frames a second in order to get exactly the right body position of the guy crossing the street. Hundreds of shots on one card. Low light capabilities. Maybe an articulated screen so you can shoot real low. Silent shooting. It goes on and on. And I’m not heralding this stuff simply because it’s modern - I’m speaking strictly from a guy who likes to shoot. A lot.
Digital - it’s amazing.
It’s nice to be a traditionalist, but let’s not pretend that doing a three-point turn without power steering was any kind of fun. Advancements are good. You know that deep down in your central-heated soul. These new-fangled gizmos don’t have to take away from the purity of those things we hold dear to us. And neither do we have to hold so tightly to the sanctity of something older that we end up incapable of grasping the benefits of modernity. And words matter.
My grandfather, late in his life, would answer the question, “How are you?” with a definitive, “I’m not dead.”
If you want to honor film, I’m all for it, but perhaps there is a more hopeful phrasing than “film is not dead.”