The Rewards

I’ve been a photographer for a long time, on and off. I’ve had many different jobs – some as a photographer and some not. In 1977, I went to college to study photography. After 2 years, mainly due to the prompting of my father, I switched my studies to Computer Science. My father was always a practical man, and my study of art was very disappointing to him. Over the years though (more so in the last 10 years), I’ve kept up with my first love, photography.

In spite of doing this for a long time, I haven’t won many awards (I really can’t think of any) – but photography has been invaluable to me in many other ways.

This is also one of the reasons I like film photography, especially black and white, and not only taking photographs, but developing my film as well. It’s hard to explain, but there’s a sense of accomplishment when you take some photos, develop the film, and the negatives actually look good – the images look good. Someone who develops their own film can tell if a roll of film is exposed and developed ok just by looking at the negatives. As soon my fixer has had a chance to work, and I can safely open my developing tank, I’m excited to see the exposed film, to see if there are images at all (thankfully, most times there is something).

That brings me to my latest adventure. I had wanted to try shooting with an RB67 for a long time. Recently I got my chance to buy a used RB67 Pro SD with a couple lenses, so I took the opportunity. The next step was learning how to use this camera, and get reasonably good results. I was convinced that the RB67 was capable of creating some very good quality negatives, with very nice resolution.

At first I was a bit discouraged. I didn’t think my negatives were very good at all. But as I used the camera more and more, I started to see better and better results. Yesterday we had some sunny weather for a change, and I was very excited to shoot outdoors in sunshine! I finally got my greatest reward with this camera yet, some images that I thought were nicely exposed, sharp enough and in focus, and they actually looked nice and contrasty (thanks to the reappearance of the sun). These images are not particularly exciting – they are experiments in my yard to see what this camera can do on Tri-X film.

What I’m trying to get around to saying is, my happiness, the fulfillment I get from my photographs, that’s my reward. For me, being happy with my own work is what’s really important. It’s not about what others think of my work, it’s about how my work makes me feel. If others like my photographs, that’s nice too, but it’s important for me to be content, and happy with my own work.

If you’re a perfectionist, like me, I hope you have moments or days when you’re truly satisfied with your own work. It’s hard, sometimes, but it’s very rewarding when you get images that you think are really nice!