the camera eye

tina modotti image of flag carrying girlHere’s the story of how I got hooked on photography.

My first taste of the alchemy is when I get the prints back from a roll I took on a Pentax K1000, c. 1990. The Pentax (which I still have) is a heavy, solid machine. I save up from a summer job to be able to afford it. It’s mechanical, operated entirely manually. I have to study to learn how to configure film speed and f-stop.

What I see in the first set of prints: depth of field, so clearly better than anything shot in years of disposables, Polaroids and point and shoots. I took a picture of a bicycle, foregrounded. The out-of-focus trees and grass behind it helping create a story.

Material objects transmuted into an artifact (artifice?) that reaches some part of me that responds to art.

Other photos – a very few – I take that summer and fall with the K1000, make me feel the same way.

I’m writing about this because I happened to read a review of a documentary about William Eggleston in the local paper today.

It reminded me of some of the photographers whose work I love. Each of them reflects in their art a personal vision, of the world as inamorata.

Tina Modotti

Robert Capa


William Eggleston

Olivo Barbieri