Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Been under the weather since Friday - I rarely get sick - but I caught a rather virulent bug that has really gotten me down. My Dad's immunity is even stronger than mine and even he caught the bug too (from me - sorry Dad). He sounds like a really ill frog - just hearing him talk hurts my ears. So with not much energy to spare, I've just been going through some old family photos. I found close to 50 Polaroids I either didn't remember ever seeing or barely remember. The shots are all from the 1970's, a combination of Time Zero Film shot with the family's One Step or peel apart film shot with the older Polaroid in the family, the Super Shooter Plus. They had been tossed in with a bunch of photos from the 1930's - 1950's so I didn't realize they were there. Finding that lot made me go search out other various Polaroids stashed in different places. I'm trying to group them all together and get them all scanned. Today I put together a little over a 100 images and actually organized them according to date (or approximate date). Thank God my Mom had actually put dates on a lot of them! I used to have a really good memory for when stuff happened but as I get older, that gift is going out the window (or just getting lost in 38 years of memories being stored in my brain). What really helped organize them is that each pack of Polaroid film (10 images) has the same number printed on the back. So sometimes a print had a date, sometimes it didn't, so if it didn't, I'd just look for the corresponding Polaroid number on the back of other shots and match them up. The photos span 1976 to 1983, the latter being probably the last year I used the One Step before moving full time to my 35mm Canon Sure Shot. Back in '83, I thought that my One Step was broken and stopped using it. About 23 years later, when I got back into Polaroid film in a big way, I took my One Step out of the closet, put a new film pack in, and it worked! I guess when I was 13 I didn't realize that the battery pack built into the film pack could go bad, instead I thought the camera was dead.

On a separate note, I ordered a couple of photography books from Amazon last week and the first one arrived today - "Suburbia" by Bill Owens. I was supposed to take a weekend seminar with Bill last year at the Julia Dean workshops but it got canceled (I think because not enough people signed up) - what a shame. My first exposure to Bill's work was at the Getty Center last year. I'll let you know more about the book after I get to dive into it.

Here's a random shot for today. I rarely crop anything, but I did crop this shot (brought the top and bottom in a little). I think it has more tension and better composition now. As I start to scan more and get more involved with Photoshop, I'm learning (or accepting) that it's okay to tweak stuff a little now and then. I think sometimes my eye sees a composition a certain way and the camera is limited in capturing what I see because of different factors. I think people can go kind of overboard with changing stuff - I mean if I shoot a landscape of a lake and the sky on a rainy, cloudy day, I don't intend to turn it into a "sunny" shot. But slight crops or color tweaks can really make or enhance a shot. Now with so many people shooting RAW, everything is being modified anyway.

VA parking lot photo by Lydia Marcus. Shot May 26. 2008 in Westwood, CA with a Sony T100.

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