Photoshoot: a clean slate for 2022
The gap between Christmas and New Years is when many decide to make resolutions, life-changing statements that begin on January 1. I choose a different route to begin the coming 365 days, cleaning up the micro-bursts. If it was a cartoon, I would be the “Tasmanian Devil”. Swirling with dust that literally flies as I tackle small areas to clean that bothered me year round, never taking more than an hour of work, it’s a vacation after all. The first mini cleaning was the kitchen window, facing north, there was still unnamed October and Easter grunge spray and leaves, a simple task accomplished even on a foggy afternoon. As the remaining days of 2021 took off from the calendar I kept there, a desk in the den, a chest in the hallway full of outdated winter gear and I gave the desktop a full backup. But then I hit the wall.
I had left my old darkroom for the end, not because it was a big mess, but because it is full of history, my story as a photojournalist. There are two enlargers, long dormant, and all the other accessories needed for developing and printing black and white photos. I made a vow several years ago to keep all this equipment. But wait, there are more, a lot more, 35mm to 4×5-sheet film cameras and newspaper cameras from the 1950s, inherited by mentors and other photojournalists who clean their closets. An old Nikonos underwater camera shares space with a 180-degree panoramic Widelux, a 1960s Nikon F camera, and several manual focus lenses, all neatly packaged in a canvas bag including the shoulder strap is worn down to the threads, all that needs to be kept. Then I discovered the college portfolio of 11×14 inch prints filling a briefcase with what now looks to me like truly pedestrian images. The drawers are filled with old State Police press passes to White House press pool badges and a stack of Cape Cod Baseball League passes, 40 years of identification. media.
During a break from photo cleanup as he entered day two, I came across a New York Times memory of fashion photographer Yasuhiro Wakabayashi, better known as Hiro. According to the story, he adopted a mantra from his mentor Alexey Brodovich when working for Harper’s Bazaar magazine in the 1950s. He said, “If you look into the camera and see something that you recognize, do not click the shutter.
Now, that could really be a New Year’s resolution, and maybe a way out of my deadlock with a lot of photos I’ve been looking at and clinging to for too long.
This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Photoshoot: a clean slate for 2022