One of the problems with working the way I work – that is, with a large, clunky camera and a tripod – is that it’s slow, repetitive & requires a pretty consistent level of discipline in order to get usable results. If one isn’t careful, that’s also the sort of thing that can turn one into a real tight-arse.
To deal with this and to help keep the eye – and brain – nimble, I have for years carried a small, 35 mm. camera (now digital “point& shoot”) that I use to make photographs of anything that interests me, even if very briefly. I seldom use the viewfinder; I just point the camera and press the shutter. If the 360° panoramas I make with the large, clunky camera are an effort to subvert photography’s indexical character, this is the precise opposite; it’s literally about as indexical as you can get.
Needless to say, a huge amount of what results is rubbish, although happily, a sufficient number are not for me to find this a valuable exercise. It’s sort of a personal version of the million monkeys on a million typewriters for a million years, not that I’m suggesting that anything here, even collectively, approaches the “Hamlet” those mythic monkeys are supposed to produce.
What this is about is staying loose and not taking myself too seriously. It’s about discovering new possibilities for image-making/image understanding. It’s about staying engaged with the world.
And, like the monkeys, do it steadily enough and long enough and inevitably, some pretty interesting images show up.
These are a few of them.
Oh, and there is one other rule – unlike my “serious” work, I never record location, date, time or any other ancillary information. I no longer remember when or where many of these were made. They’re just anonymous images that can mean only what they and a viewer want them to.