Who Makes the Pictures, with Todd H. Williams
I recently found a picture I really liked. Simple aspen trees, made south of Santa Fe, in 1995. I smiled at its simplicity of form, and considered how comparatively little technology I used to create it:
A Hassleblad camera, lens and film back.
A hand-held light meter.
My lab in Austin processed the film. I selected the picture on a table, with light shining through it. The lab made a cibachrome print. It was beautiful. I showed it to my students, friends and family.
Now digital imaging gives us many options, stunning speed, and immediacy in image-making. But we are the ones making the picture, after we see the picture.
It is the process of seeing the world that allows all of us to make strong pictures. Pictures, that may mean more and more to us over time. Pictures that often memorialize pieces of our lives—our ephemeral lives.
Pictures are made by us, using new and incredible tools, but not vice-versa. When my students become intimidated by complex cameras and software, I remind them:
“It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian.”