While exploring my fascination with film photography, I came across this passage by photographer Joel Meyerowitz from his 1979 book, Cape Light. The book showcases photos taken with Meyerowitz’s 8x10 Deardorff, a big hulk of a camera that requires methodical thought and care (in contrast to a 35mm or digital camera) while exposing large sheets of film. The images are not quite what you’d expect from a collection devoted to life and scenery in an oceanside town. Meyerowitz explains it so well, and it’s an explanation that applies to all creative endeavors. Maybe that’s why I like it so much.
These photographs are often the least beautiful: spare, sometimes empty of qualities that are more easily celebrated. One makes the other photographs on the way to these rare, irresistible images that claim your deepest attention. The trick is not to be seduced by the beautiful but to struggle against accomplishment and push toward something more personal. Shared beauty is not enough. One wants to go beyond those limits, not for the sake of invention, but for knowing.