Dick’s Rant

One of Fremantle's most famous bike-riding photographers frequently says that if Photoshop is the answer, you've asked the wrong question. He's in a good position to say this as he has passed a working lifetime making excellent pictures with film as well as digital cameras and has the ability to teach others to do the same. I am not sure if he gets it right every time, but I'll bet he gets it right nearly all the time. That's experience and skill. Some of the rest of us have a poorer batting average. I can look back on decades of negatives, slides, and prints and see where I went wrong, and that on a steady, regular basis. I'm not saying I was dumb, but I learned early on that you could make most mistakes in new ways if you tried...

Because if you are, keep your fingers out of the way. For myself, my cutting edge is best expressed by the heading image. I am allowed to use one at the dinner table as long as I have corks on the sharp points of the fork. My photography is a lot like this, too. You may be better...

Not if I'm in 'em. I can look horrible by myself - I don't need professional pictures to prove it. We all break a picture now and then. In our early photography days they can all be cracked and sad as we learn what to do - by learning what not to do. People can take a shortcut to this sort of knowledge by attending classes at Shoot Workshops or Perth Learn Photography or many other clubs and institutions. The rest of us just make errors and feel bad about them and have to figure out how to correct them a. The film folks can make all sorts of errors loading the ISO of their films into their camera's metering system...

It's how you fix it. And when, and where, too. I flew a scale model airplane into the floor yesterday, courtesy of a my coat sleeve, and the landing was a hard one - no nose gear left. It was up off the floor as fast as possible, under a strong light to find the damage, then out to the workshop. The gear leg was drilled, pinned, and re-cemented within 15 minutes and the plane would look fine in an hour. My heart rate calmed down and I was able to take a long breath. It is exactly the same with our photography ventures. We will make mistakes  - we will break things - and we will experience panic when it happens. That's the point when being prepared is important - and the preparations can be done with knowledge and organisation. a. If you break a camera or a lens, you generally do it with a fall. First thing to do is examine yourself to see if you're broken...

Some of the first messages we try to convey to our parents are done with simple means. A pointed finger - a cry to " look ". Often these are before we can really form a sentence to explain what we want them to see. We've seen something and they must see it. And to be fair, that's what we do a lot as parents when we want to the children to see something - but we most often explain what it is they are meant to see. In today's charged world this would probably be complained of as " parentsplaining ", but I'll leave you to fight with the social engineers yourself. I'm just glad they aren't equipped with Bailey bridges...

The cutting edge of a good knife is backed up by a piece of softer steel. The sharp bit may be ever-so, but it can be brittle - it needs a tough and resilient spine to keep it from snapping. Any connection to photography here? Well, if you are the brilliant but brittle star of a studio you might produce the images...

Club - Association dedicated to a particular interest or activity. Or a blunt weapon. I'll leave the latter to your discretion - the former is the idea we want to deal with today. I met with several members of the Western Australian Photographic Federation at the recent PhotoLive 2021 at Edith Cowan University. When I say met, I mean pinned them to the wall with a request for a photo. Game souls that they are, they agreed, and I think they look pretty good withal. Their presence at PhotoLive was to promote one of the best ideas there is is photography: fellowship. I hope they had a number of interested visitors and that they can gain new members for their constituent clubs. This is no idle desire; when new people come to photography, or enthusiasts get to meet like-minded individuals, the whole art advances. I might not bring anything new to the table from one year to the next, but that doesn't stop someone else from getting a brilliant idea...

Besides booze? Well, that was a one of the questions that flicked through the mind as I walked around the trade hall at the recent PhotoLive. It was a fair bet that the people employed by the wholesalers would be carrying their own goods - the staff sales discounts pretty well guarantee that. And no sale rep who is paid to sell A all day will risk being seen taking pictures with B on the weekend. Not in this gabby town. But what of the volunteers who manned the stands from a sense of fellowship, or loyalty, or curiosity? And what of the retired reps who were there to pass on their considerable knowledge but wouldn't be writing up sales orders the following Monday? I did not poke the various bears too hard, but I did pause beside the Fujifilm stand to listen to Duncan Dodd when he spoke about the cameras he liked. I was a good audience because I like and use the Fujifilm system myself. Duncan was preaching to the choir when he was talking to me but I...

You all know the joke about the job not being finished until the paper work is completed. Laugh it up, but then go back to your desk and start making an Excel spreadsheet of 500 items. We need it in half an hour...