I can't believe it's December 20. It seems like just yesterday, but it was January when I posted the most important personal photographic news for 2011: the arrival of:
1: A 1960s era Beseler 23C condenser enlarger.
This was my new years resolution for 2011. I wanted to build a darkroom and learn how to use it. I was pretty much operational in January, but have been improving things since. This activity has changed how I engage with photography on a fundamental level. I'm so glad I did this.
As usual, I spent as much time as I could capturing children. My favorites:
Another notable event of 2011 was the introduction and subsequent testing of the new Kodak Portras, which are to my eye the finest, and probably last, great color negative films to be developed. I don't shoot much color, but when I do it will be this stuff. I'm glad I took the time to get to know it.
2011 also saw the start of my flag/porch project, which is ongoing.
I didn't buy equipment for capturing images this year, with the exception of a very inexpensive Yashica TLR from the 1960s. This has sparked an interest in medium format photography, if not the TLR form factor.
As an aside, I have been enjoying recording the changing landscape of Philadelphia with photography for a few years now. Some of you will remember the empty pool and playground in Manayunk. In December it was all razed and is now a parking lot.
The best use of photography is #6. Deep gratitude goes to Casey for suggesting that I start saving prints for my kids, which honestly hadn't occurred to me. Now each boy has his own Ilford box of prints, gradually filling. I'll hand them off when the boys are men. Thanks, Casey.
This final image is bittersweet. This week our elderly neighbor Anne cried when she told us she couldn't take the stress of caring for her aging house and dog any longer, and is moving with Trina to an assisted living facility in February, a bit too far away for regular visits and dog walking duty. You can imagine the disappointment my kids feel, but it has given us the chance to discuss things (like the definition of the word bittersweet, for instance). So much of photography is bittersweet, and I think this photograph of Owen and Trina is as good of an example as I have ever made.
Thank you all for sharing another wonderful year of photography and friendship. 2012 should be another humdinger. I have no particular plans for 2012, but I have to admit that the idea of medium format photography is looking better all the time. Now if only I had a . . .
All the best,