Random Thought: Making a Photo

Updated: Sep 10

"You don't take a photograph. You make it." -Ansel Adams


Cameras are special. Cameras capture a moment which, despite all the wishes in the world, will never return. While these moments are fleeting, through a camera, they are frozen in time. What a camera captures is unique. Unique as a result of the moment, device, film, subject, photographer, developer, etc. Just as no two images are the same, a singular image will never have the same meaning to two individuals. As I said, cameras are special. So are images they produce.


As with almost every other craft, technology has changed photography significantly since its humble, yet impressive, beginning in the early 19th century. What used to be a massive, complex device available to a select few, is now available to almost everyone in a place few would have predicted: the telephone.


While "cellphonography" certainly lowered the barrier to entry for most, I personally found it lowering my interest in the art of photography. My phone's memory would quickly fill with mostly uninspired images, few of which were seen by others. None of which were ever printed. The same goes for pictures taken on my DSLR. Albeit the DSLR images were slightly more inspiring, they only lived in the digital space and most of the time, I hate to admit it, there wasn't a lot of thought going into the capture. Shoot first, change the truth (edit) later. I found myself mindlessly taking a picture, rather than making it.


Just as I was becoming disenchanted with photography, I found myself back home for my brother's wedding. The day before the wedding, I was wandering through rooms, looking at things. Maybe to see what has stayed the same. Maybe to see what has changed since leaving for college in 2006. As I entered my brother's room, something caught my attention. A green binder resting on the reading nook by the window. Last I remembered, this green binder housed negatives (now long forgotten) from a high school photography class. Uncertain if there was still something inside, I opened the binder. Slowly.


Sure enough, I was presented with several sheets of poorly archived negatives. Having forgotten what was on the negatives, I held them to the window. Some images were better than others, however, they all brought a smile to my face. Memories time had once erased now returned. There was something special about being able to hold these memories in my hand. I began to remember the changing bag, Patterson tank, making prints, the soft red light of the darkroom. It was nostalgia in its purest form. I needed to recreate that feeling. I wanted to, once again, make photography.


The intent of this site is to serve as a photo journal of sorts. A record of my return to analog photography. A record of my experiences. My wins. My failures. The photographs I make.

A few images from the lost rolls of high school.




Washington, D.C., USA 

thefilmawakening@gmail.com

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©2019 by Taylor Mackay