I still shoot with my Dad’s circa 1960 model Agfa rangefinder 35mm camera, usually using Ilford Delta 100 black and white film. There is, of course, no automatic function with this camera, thus forcing me to measure the light and set the f-stop/shutter accordingly. Black and white, which I affectionately refer to as ‘noir’, is simply the most elemental way to see lighting. The lens has to be focused manually and its fixed focal length forces me to work within “normal” eyeshot. Shooting up a roll is a lovely trip back to Photography 101 and helps reorient me to my more complicated modern cameras.
This roll was shot under very flat, cloudy conditions that I’ve had good luck with in the past (although some say better noir is achieved with high contrast, sunny conditions). I was very happy with the results when they came back to me in prints. Not so much so once I’d transitioned them into the computer. Something looks to have gone awry in the high-resolution scans I made, or perhaps the shots just weren’t all that good in the first place. Or both. In any event, I’ve been less successful creating the art I’m used to creating. This will be the last one off of the roll, and though it’s not bad, I wouldn’t say it characterizes as my best noir.
But part of that may perhaps be that, over the past couple years, I have fewer people in my life who are aficionados of the noir style, and more enthusiasts of the ‘abstract realism’ that the bulk of my work has been described as. Ironically, my first two sales in this that I call my Exhibition Period were noirs. But nothing since. Since, noir works hardly get the time of day. Has public taste shifted or have my skills in one direction subsided while the other progressed?
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.