one day at a time

day 143: don’t be afraid

don't be afraid © Verena Fischer 2012

don't be afraid © Verena Fischer 2012

Today I saw a documentary on William Eggleston and I was surprised. I knew some of his pictures, but never knew his name. What was surprising to me was that his pictures have, what I have been meaning to achieve for years. There is a level of banal everyday-ness about them, but they have something utterly disturbing about too. As if he manages to show what it would be like to come as an alien to the neighbourhood. His subjects are boring, American, suburban, normal, but then there is something special to them. A glint in the eyes, a serendipitous prop, a colour hue that makes you stop for a moment and then you wonder how a picture with a cut off person at the edge can be so incredibly good. It’s quite hard to figure out what makes these pictures so special. I kept thinking “There must be some kind of trick to it, what is it”? At some point I will have to get one of his books and stare at his pictures for a few hours to figure it out.

And then there was a moment in the documentary where you saw the collection of old camera bodies he owned. There were 19 old film camera bodies of the same type and I knew that part of his work was shot with a Leica. The thought of 19 Leica bodies is just maddening considering that I’m far from even being able to afford one. Now, after looking through images of camera bodies I at least know that these are definitely not 19 Leica M series camera bodies, thank god, the equipment envy would have been too much to bear! Well, it’s that time of the month again. Not what you think, no, it’s just that every few weeks I look at the current prices of Leica M series cameras and cry a little. Boy can you see a difference in the pictures though! I follow a few Leica photographers and the colours and contrasts are just amazing. Comparing a silly point and shoot camera with my Canon EOS 450D makes a real difference. I’d say the difference between my camera and a Leica M series is just as big. However, with my current finances my obsession with the Leica M series is just like dreaming of a Porsche.

I need a rich sponsor … any takers?

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10 responses

  1. Beautiful shot, love it. Is that Eggleston doc online? Would love to check it.

    January 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm

  2. A road or a stairs going anywhere, but we do not know where, is always interesting to see…I can imagine something different each time behind the corner…
    robert
    PS: it took me years before I was able to buy my second hand Leica…but still think the photographer eye is more important than the camera…

    January 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm

  3. I agre with Robert that cameras don’t take pictures people do. One of the most incredible pictures I ever saw was a picture taken by Irving Penn one of the masters. It was taken with a pin hole camera of what looked like sand dunes were only little furrows of sand caused by the tide but at the right angle and depth of field it looked like massive sand dunes.

    January 3, 2012 at 12:38 am

  4. LOVE the photo. And I have to agree with others, it is the photographer who makes the picture. I have a point and shoot as well as a DSLR. I have gotten phenomenal photos from both cameras, as well as absolute discards!

    January 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

  5. I know what you mean by needing a rich sponsor…or uncle. Great photo Verena…I love the mystery it portrays.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

  6. SaptarshiC

    I know exactly how you feel. Being a 3D artist is just as expensive. And it’s also just as frustrating to think of all the shiny, shiny new hardware out there in the market that you just cannot afford, but will work wonders if you could.
    That being said, I think that working with ‘inferior’ hardware is lots fun. It’s really nice to be able to think creatively to work around all the problems that you are faced with. It forces you to use your head rather than relying on the hardware.

    January 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

  7. You are doing amazing things with that DSLR, though, Ms. F.
    Although I know the feeling… I’d give a limb or two for a wet plate camera set-up.
    Among other things.
    🙂

    January 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm

  8. love this shot…so mysterious and dramatic…

    January 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm

  9. Love the curving path, and the B&W. Also, I’d like a rich sponsor too! 🙂

    January 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  10. Oh, yes, if wishes were horses then beggers would ride! We all have our equipment pie in the sky. As the quote goes: the most important part of the camera is the 12 inches behind it.

    January 25, 2012 at 3:53 am

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