I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
— Maya Angelou
“One Hour Photo” is a new photography app for iPhone. The idea is simple (and I must admit I scoffed at it at first): You take pictures with the app, which has virtually no settings at all (it’s very much like shooting with a disposable camera or something). The screen turns white for a split-second. Then a timer starts at the bottom of the app, and the viewfinder reappears. The photos show up in your camera roll an hour later, with a dreamy black-and-white “film” filter.
There’s something very zen about the whole experience. It quite literally takes away my usual perfectionism and attention to detail and makes me take photos of moments and let them pass. I spent my dinner break last night driving / walking around in Austin snapping photos, and I really enjoyed it. Something about the format — the anticipation, the not-looking-back, and perhaps most importantly the lack of immediately firing up any number of editing apps — made me really enjoy just pointing my phone at things and shooting. I really can’t recommend it strongly enough. Almost as an added bonus, the app has some of the most convincing faux-film effects of any app I’ve ever used, and it does so completely automatically.
I spent a good part of the last half of 2011 traveling. It was amazing for all the reasons that wandering is always so, but I sadly returned into a world so hectic that I’ve barely had the chance to process it all. In the coming weeks I intend to sort through the photos, journals and video I shot while galavanting around the country (and even, for a brief time, outside it). I’ll likely condense it into a few posts, but consider this a teaser and a proof of concept. It’s coming.
It’s always seemed like I get most inspired to take photographs in the winter, which most people would probably call the least photogenic of all the seasons. The truth is I never saw it that way; I think one of the reasons I was always interested in photography was that it allowed you to capture the beautiful in the mundane, the everyday. I also think there’s a sort of minimalist beauty in the sparseness of winter.
There’s just something about it.
From the beginnings of my aspirations to be a “photographer”, I always considered low-light and night photography to be sort of my go-to genre. The very first photograph I took that I really felt was “good”, the first one that made me feel like maybe I was getting a hang of what I was doing, was a long-exposure shot I took in Arkansas outside my tent in the middle of the night (it’s on flickr here, if you’re interested). Though I’ve branched out a lot since then, available-light photography is still very near and dear to my heart. So recently as I’ve been thinking a lot about the “professional” or “commercial” work I do it starts to occur to me that I do very little photography these days just for the sheer enjoyment of it, which is a real shame. So I decided to get back to my roots and head out after dark with my friend Matt, a camera and a tripod. Here are some of the results.
Abandoned drive-in movie theater on old Route 66 west of Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
Abandoned building, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
That last one came out looking like something from a horror movie or something, which was totally unintentional, but I like it.
I was inspired to write one blog entry every day in February by my friend Erin — you should check out her blog (and amazing photography) here.