Just a Black Box…

This morning I posted these words on my Instagram feed. It seems appropriate to share them here too…


This Sunday, here’s a thought to consider on photography:

As I’m about to make a photograph, I remove the ground glass screen (used for composing and focussing the image).

Just before I fix the plate holder to the camera, as in this case at Southwold Lifeboat Station, this is what I see:

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe

Frighteningly simple, isn’t it?

It’s just a black box and a lens. That’s all cameras are…black boxes and a lens. Truly.

When I travel on my missions, I just use this camera and one lens; my lens cap is my shutter – I count elephants in my head when I’m making an exposure (have you seen Gregory’s Girl?).

As there are no equipment choices to make, my mind is free to concentrate on making the best photograph I can with what I have.

So many people confuse ‘cameras’ with ‘photography’. I’m afraid I cannot have camera conversations like “So, are you a Canon man or a Nikon man?”

It actually makes me shudder.

Cameras do not make you a better photographer…you make you a better photographer.

You can have all the pixels and knobs and buttons in the world. It might have cost you £2000 but, unfortunately, it will not make you a better photographer.

Q: So, what will?

A: Other good photography!

Buy good photo books. Old ones. New ones. Immerse yourself in them. You’ll find out what you like and what you don’t like and, I promise, you’ll become an infinitely better photographer in no time…


THE LIFEBOAT STATION PROJECT

With that in mind, why not pop over to see what I’ve been up to with my black box and lens at The Lifeboat Station Project?

I’d love you to join me…

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe

Silver and Light Revisited

Back in December, I saw out the year with a short film showing the extraordinary working methods of Ian Ruhter.

I’ve enjoyed watching it again recently as it has a new relevance for me.

Whether or not you’ve seen it already, I really recommend making the time. It’s a cracker and a gentle reminder of what photography really is…

“There is a point in every person’s life when they must choose to follow their dreams or be stuck in the life they fear.” — Ian Ruhter

If, like me, you’re a fan of Tumblr, Ian Ruhter’s feed is a good’un too…

Hunter S. Thompson: The Edge

Video

“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others — the living — are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.” — Hunter S. Thompson

I know what he means and I expect many of you do too…

This fine short by Piotr Kabat came to me via the superb brain pickings.

A Monumental Drawing by Chris LaPorte

Video

“There’s a lot of erasing and redrawing.

“It’s not only necessary, it’s also kind of the point — the greatest opportunity to learn is when you don’t do it right.” — Chris LaPorte

Through the week, I stumbled across the Twitter feed of Colossal and, in turn, the inspirational work of Chris LaPorte.

LaPorte makes huge pencil drawings…really huge!

I love that there are people in the world making such wonderful creations.  I’d love to hear what you think too — leave a comment and let me know…

The Only Way to Play Guitar

A little weekend inspiration for you…

This fine clip, sure to warm the heart, came into my life through James Danziger’s blog:

Sense of Flying

“People who’ve seen me about to fly off a cliff say I look perfectly calm. It’s the complete opposite. I’m terrified.” — Espen Fadnes

Every now and then, I’d like to share a little weekend inspiration with you — something I’ve spotted in the Cybersphere that’s really sparked my interest and imagination…

Here’s the first, a clip of Espen Fadnes flying down the side of a mountain at 250kph in Stryn, Norway.

Pour your favourite beverage, sit down, watch this and then take your heart out of your mouth…