About my journey
May 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment
So let me begin with a few things about myself, and how they may reflect on my photography. Let’s get something out of the way - I am opinionated, and I make no apologies for being opinionated. I get along with animals (especially with cats, that most opinionated of all animal species), with plants, with deserts and cold places, with the wind and the ocean, with solitude, with silence. I have a strong dislike for crowds and human noise, for conventional wisdom, for fashion and trends, for crowd mentality, for selfies and selfie sticks, for self-congratulation, for spoiled brats (I am a university professor), for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, for the “me mentality”. In other words, I don’t get along with my species all that well. I am a scientist and a mathematician, which is how I make my living. But this website is about photography. Why did I get into it? Two reasons: I love nature and I love toys, and there are few activities that combine these two loves as well as photography does.
My aim is to depict nature in all of its glory, but this does not mean in all of its unblemished glory. For some landscape photographers having a road or a building in the frame is sacrilegious. I may prefer that the road or the building were not there, but if they are I will work with what I have and try to make nature look its best despite those blemishes. For most macro photographers depicting a flower in anything but its perfect prime is pointless. I don’t feel that way. A flower with a torn petal, or past its prime, or surrounded by weeds, is no less beautiful. And that “imperfect” flower tells a story that may be so much more interesting than that of its less tarnished sister. You will find landscapes with no “hand of man” in my galleries, but you will also find cities, roads and buildings. You will find less than perfect flowers, trees and animals. What you will not find are humans, or at least not many of them. I am incapable of photographing humans. I admire good portrait photographers, but I am not one of them, and I have no inclination to become one.
Many places become iconic because they are photographed over and over again. Why? Because they are either beautiful or photogenic. For somebody who is a nature lover first and a photographer second these are two very different concepts. A trendy image maker, on the other hand, is unable to tell the difference. You will find in my galleries some images of famous places, but I tend to avoid them, in no small part because I don’t like the idea of having to share these places with other humans, with their constant incoherent chatter and their shrill screams, their loud laughs and silly Oh-my-gods.
And what about toys? I use a wide range of equipment, new and old, digital and analog. Part of the joy of photography is, for me, to handle gorgeous pieces of engineering and extract beautiful images from them. I tend to favor manual focus lenses from the analog era, made by Olympus, Carl Zeiss (East and West), Konica, Fuji and a few others. The camera is less important, as I think of it as digital back for the lens. But I have my favorite cameras, that I use because they are unquestionably at the top of their respective games. Olympus OM-D and PEN bodies have the best image and build quality that one can extract from a very small package. Sony E-mount cameras (full frame and APS-C) are the only sensor-mount combination that is capable of doing justice to great analog lenses. Finally, if you have ever worked with Foveon raw files you may understand why I have a special place for my Sigma SD-1. Cantankerous, slow and quirky, but nothing comes close in terms of image quality.
So there you have it. If you read to the end of this first blog post then perhaps you share some of these views. Or, perhaps more likely, you are so mad at me that you feel that you must argue back. Either way, I invite you to share your thoughts (but please be polite) and, if you feel like it, to look at my photos and comment on them.
Keywords: Carl Zeiss, DDR, Foveon, Jena, Olympus, Sigma, Sony, cat, collective thinking, crowd, me generation, mob mentality, nature photography, selfie
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Photos, commentary and opinions by Alberto Patiño Douce