Catalogue | Souvenirs | E-mail | Links
«sun | Front | NetNewsWire »

November 15, 2002
Slow exposures

We were on the corner of Mercer and Prince in SoHo. It took me maybe 20 minutes to just set up the equipment and get ready to shoot. I picked the darkest corner under cast iron stairs and made my tripod short and wide to avoid vibrations to the camera. I could barely see the focusing screen and it took minutes to get the focus as what I thought was right. Half of my picture was the reflection of the s of the sign of Fanelli café in the stone sidewalk. There were cars, the traffic . There were pedestrians. Most of them did not even see me. I was keeping a very low profile and getting ready to expose the first frame. I knew there would be a major problem with the situation. The sign of the cafe was very bright, but there were barely any other sources in the frame. Well, the cars, there were the cars. I measured the of the buildings and measured the s of the sign. These pictures would probably not come out at all. But I was already there. Not even trying to shoot would be just very sad. I adjusted the settings for a one minute exposure, waited for the , and locked the shutter via cable release. I now looked with three wide open eyes onto the corner and the people and every ray of . A minute feels very different when it is a minute of full awareness. I did not really to look at my watch to know when the minute was over.
Now another 30 seconds for Polaroid development. I developed it in my jacket, to protect it from the cold. This was chemical photography. No LCD to warn me that I had not put the polaroid back all the way into the camera and that there would be a black bar on the bottom of the photograph.
The picture was an arrangement of streaks, blurry fields, fire escapes and some fragments of cast iron architecture. The exposure was right. I had measured the correctly. The focus plane was in the wrong place. Another try. It took me another 20 minutes to make the next exposure. Another 40 seconds to realize that I had tried to shoot an idea too complex, too quickly.
I will probably return to the spot. Just at a different time, with a different tripod, a focusing glass and more determination.
I was not alone on the corner all this time. A few feet from me was a press photographer, waiting for his shot of the night. He seemed a bit frustrated as well. He told me that he was waiting for a particular person to come out of Mercer Hotel. He had been there for two and a half hours when I asked him. He was giving it another hour or so. His camera was an all new digital model with a 400mm lens. He said he knew that the was really bad on this particular corner and that the camera would really fail once he had to shoot. It was so strange that we both knew that our pictures would fail, even though our missions were completely different. Our equipment was completely different too. Mine an almost 60 year old analogue model, his the newest digital model. We both shot at an extremely slow pace. We were maybe in the right place, just not at the right time.
I am looking at the two polaroids in front of me and even though I will never show them here, it was important for me to be on the corner of Mercer and Prince in SoHo last night.

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?