“We do not see things as they are; we see them as WE are.”
- Anais Nin
As soon as the Olympus EPL-1 arrived I had it set to square. I won it’s use for a couple of months, and had to submit weekly photographs for public scrutiny and the chance to win the camera. The Olympus E-3 had already gone. I wasn’t enjoying using it as an slr. But I was enjoying this little mirrorless thing.
Ten years ago now.
The square stuck. Eventually I settled on a sepia hue I liked too.
Why square? If it’s about me, why do I shoot square?
I don’t see myself as square, far from it, eccentric and out of the box. Yes. Not square, straight or normal. Well, that metaphor doesn’t work.
Does it have some romantic notion of historical cameras such as the Hasselbad? Well, I did love dads Bronica and he eventually gave it to me for my birthday. Was it my 21st? Or was it younger? Can’t remember. The Bronica and the Hasselblad shoot 120 & 220 film and create films for photographs that are 6 x 6 cm or 2 1/4 inches square. But, the reality is these cameras are well into my past now.
So, it has to be the shape, the space between the four sides.
I really enjoy playing in that space.
I was reading Bruce Perry’s blog this week and he recons it’s easier to get objects into the corners and edges. Which is true, but that alone doesn’t account for a love affair with an aspect ratio.
I was also thinking about Steve Jobs, and how he only had one outfit, so he reconnected that by not having to make decisions about what to wear each day he had more mental space for creativity. A bit like my one lens policy. My Monochrome policy and my square policy. By keeping these things constant I have more emotional and interlectual space for creativity.
So, what does that tell me about me? Well, I am so driven in creating beautiful art I will use every little bit of help I can find to do it better. Better to be a Master of one trade, than a jack of all trades.
Why not devote my effort into a very specific area and leave the generalist photographs to others. Concentrate on the subject. The composition without distractions. It tells me I am incredibly focused.
I will need to think about square some more. Fine Artist. Unusual. Different. Geometric. Mathematical. Triangles.
The question really needs to be: “What does your work tell you about you?”
Crown Shyness, Centennial Park, Day 1 with a new camera. 2010 Olympus EPL-1 Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2019
Artist | Writer | Photographer | Educator | Adventurer