I have been missing in action. Since Thanksgiving the influenza has had me in a deadly grip. Four weeks is too long to be sick with anything when your body is in the best shape it has ever been in, but this year’s flu turned to walking pneumonia and then a sinus infection. Many of my favourite activities, such as writing, had to be forsaken so that I could manage my daily work while still managing to spend quality time with my family and friends. I never underestimate how valuable my good health is, but it always shakes me a bit when a simple virus lays me on the floor for so long. But I digress…where was I? The West Coast Trail and my brother’s wedding photography is finally entering the scanning process, and the film negatives appear to be co-operating.
The West Coast Trail will forever be an achievement for me. No boys scouts for me; I lasted four hours at the Army Cadet’s winter camp. Hiking 78km with a full pack of fifty pounds over a landscape that only hobbits and elves would find easy to cross, I found my feet and confirmed that this country has much to offer the brave and crazy. For this adventure I decide to shoot only Kodak 160 film in the back of my Hasselblad SWC camera. I knew that batteries and electronics would easily become corrupted by wet, damp weather, and that 7 days is a long time to be unable to charge a camera battery. I am not a landscape photographer, but I felt that with the 38mm medium format perspective that the Hasselbad offers I could certainly capture the memories that I wanted to keep safe when the aches and pains of hiking were long past.
My brother’s wedding is a different beast on the opposite side of the country, Prince Edward Island. Why shoot with a Hasselblad 501CM there? Well…I forgot my battery charger for the Canon 1DmkIII, and that is not a situation any wedding photographer wants to find himself. Fortunately for us, my permanent partner was expertly wielding a second camera [a Canon 7D with a 50mm f.1.2 L lens], and I had two other cameras with me to capture as much as I could. The main photographs had to be shot on film, however, and these are the first two scans I have been able to complete since my health began to slowly return this week.
What do I see in these photographs? The intangible mood and perspective that digital accuracy simply cannot reproduce. Four photographs taken with technology that will soon become lost as film dies a slow death with the demise of Kodak. Ironically, these four photographs will probably last far beyond the quickie selfies and iPhone captures that we all use to publicize our daily lives. I hold no qualms with the technology, but I know we seldom print or back-up our digital captures, but that I will be able to store these negatives safely for my own lifetime at least. Perhaps the standard by which I judge all of my personal work now is whether I would want to print my photographs for a funeral, an anniversary or an exhibition. On both of these islands hundreds, if not thousands of photographs were taking on the trail and at the wedding, but how many of them capture the actual spaces and moments as well as these? This is my work. I am proud of it.