»I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.«
I’m not a brave man. And I’m usually not very much into New Year’s resolutions either. This year I wanted to work on that and change it up a little. One of my goals for 2014 is to conquer my fears and do more things that scare me. I believe that fear can hold you back from doing what you were meant to do in your life and from becoming the person that you were meant to be. Looking back on my own life, I realize with distance how many of my decisions were driven by fear. Being afraid of change frequently led me to do the safest or the most comfortable thing and held me back from doing the right thing.
I see the same problem in photography frequently. As soon as a photographer becomes commercially successful you often see their artistic development freeze. With commercial bookings, clients usually expect a certain style, a signature look. That’s nothing bad, it’s often the sole reason why someone gets to work for a client in the first place. But this is also a very dangerous place because it doesn’t allow for artistic development if you’re not careful. Commercial success forces many artists to maintain a certain status quo until they lose the urge to create. This doesn’t only apply to photography, you can also see how musicians are often being criticized for wanting to develop in a different direction and try something new.
I’m very curious to find out where my own development will lead me this year. I’m planning on doing a lot of scary things. I haven’t picked up my Fuji X-Pro1 in a long time and I can feel that I’m getting away from digital more and more. I purchased an old Leica M2 at the beginning of January to complement my Leica MP and to carry with me everywhere I go on every single day. That’s a big adventure for me, I usually only did that when my wife and I were traveling.
I mainly shoot Kodak Tri-X with the M2, which is interesting because I’m normally not a big black and white person. The M2 also doesn’t have a built in meter, so I have to guess my exposure when shooting that camera if I don’t have a light meter with me. That’s challenging but also a lot of fun.
I started home developing my black and white film from the M2 in our kitchen sink. The idea behind that is to find out how practical it is to exclusively shoot film and to gain a better understanding of the whole process. Developing my own film is quite an experience. It regularly takes me about four hours to develop and scan four rolls of Tri-X. Needless to say, I have even more respect and appreciation for my lab now than I ever did before.
Here are a couple of shots from a recent trip to Dublin. All the images below were taken with the Leica M2 and the Voigtländer Nokton 50mm 1.5 ASPH VM on Kodak Tri-X 400: