I was thinking today about why I like photography. I think my passion can be summarized in two ways: qualitatively and quantitatively. The qualitative analysis is easy, and to an extent, universal - It’s the same reason why artists do art. I think that behind all the psuedobullshit, it’s simple; as humans, we naturally want to evoke emotion and response. We make friends so we can associate with them, hear their ideas and share ours, express ourselves through words and actions and be a receptacle for their expressions. Art is another way to do just that. Be it a photograph, a sculpture, or a painting, I think that the artist created it in order to commander attention and provoke expression of thought and opinion.
Quantitatively, it’s something a little different for me. I look at my raw materials. My reusables: my camera, my darkroom equipment. My consumables: my film, my developing chemicals. I keep my costs down because I can’t afford not to. I never hesitate to take a shot because of cost or fear of waste, but when I’m buying chemicals or film I’m always looking at how to do it cheaper. I buy in bulk. I consider what chemicals last longest. I got most of my darkroom equipment on Craigslist. I roll my film in total darkness because a bulk loader wastes 2 frames per roll. What it comes down to is that each roll of film I shoot costs me about $2 in consumables. This is where my quantitative assessment comes in.
When I load my camera, I know that $2 will come out of my pocket before I get to see my images. But by the time I’m dipping my film into the soup, it’s already worth twenty times that amount to me. I might not be able to sell it on the street and make an instant, easy profit just yet, but I know that if someone busted into my bathroom when I’m about to crack a canister and demanded a ransom to not expose my roll, I’d pay a lot more than $2. When I go out and take pictures, I am creating value, and in today’s world that is not easy to do.