I spent much of Saturday at the summer Rendezvous at Fort de Chartres, Illinois.
I went with Ruth but also as part of a gathering with my photography club. So there were competing interests for my attention. Perhaps in the past, I might have spent more time socialising with the other photographers, but this time I really didn’t. Even though I was there primarily to take photographs and Ruth is not that interested in taking pictures.
So why did my spouse prove a better draw than my fellow camera enthusiasts?
My photography club friends are fine people, all of them, and I’m glad I know them. Yet most of what we talk about is taking photographs. After several years of this, it’s becoming a lot less attractive.
Why should this be? Several reasons.
Firstly, pretty much all that can be said has been said. I am not learning anything new about cameras, lenses or technique. Especially as I both read books and follow the more interesting photography websites.
Secondly, I find the prospect of a group of photographers gravitating to a spot of interest and hovering around like flies until the scene is fully recorded quite unappealing these days. I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.
Thirdly, from a purely technical point of view, my own photography is taking a left turn away from the digital interests of my photography friends. I am the only member of my group using film. Some have dabbled, some talk of trying it out, but no one has embraced it full time. So I am out of tune with the current preoccupations of the group – at the moment, tilt-shifts, long exposures to bring out clouds, and the inevitable post-processing tricks available through software. My thoughts turn towards developers, pH, incubating temperatures and all the other fascinating aspects of wet chemical photography.
So the photograph I took on Saturday of the lunch queue under a hot summer sun is more aptly allegorical than I first thought. I am like the grumpy old man at the end of the line. Out of my time and caught up in the pleasures of the past. If it means walking a lonelier path, so be it. I do, after all, have a wife who will walk with me and talk about a lot of interesting things that have little to do with picture taking. That’s worth a lot.