Saturday, February 04, 2006

Spider Man

I've been using that 15mm ultra wide angle lens for few years now, but it's really only the past year or so that I really got into the taking-pictures-of-myself in a big way. At first it was just to document places I'd been or people I'd been with, kind of a memory-on-film, a way to compensate for the fact that my short term memory is less than perfect, nowhere what it had once been before I had some seizures and then spent a couple of years grossly over-medicated. The prevailing philosophy of the medical establishment is "On this dose you damned well aren't going to have a seizure!" My family doctor warned me that I shouldn't be driving on that medication load. I told him that the neurologist had warned me not to drive unless I was taking it. With the blessings of my family doctor I experimented with gradually smaller amouts until I reached a point that I would only occasionally have a minor seizure in my sleep. At least my head is clear now, but there's about a two year period from which I remember almost nothing!

I started using the 15mm lens more and more and became very adept at knowing what the framing would be even though the camera was operated at arm's length with one hand, pointing back to include me in the picture. I was encouraged to start posting some of them on the Leica Forum on the Photo.Net website and they were popular. Oh a few people accused me of being enamored of myself, but what the hell. I wasn't charging myself outrageous modeling fees either!

I started looking for new ways to exploit the lens, new ways to make dramatic photographs. One night on my way back from somewhere I realized that I still had some unshot film on the end of a roll. I decided that some nightshots while driving might be interesting. The exposure was rather long, about one half second I think, but I was able to rest the camera on the dashboard of my truck to steady the camera and I soon finished off the roll. One hand working the camera, the other hand holding the steering wheel mere inches from the lens. I had a fairly good idea of how the picture would look, although the spider resemblance was not in my mind. Other people picked up on that after seeing the photograph.

This is one of the most popular photographs in the series, and one of my favorites as well. I love the intensity and the drama, the strength of the composition. I haven't been able to come up with such a strong driving-the-truck image during the day. The black/white interplay emphasizing my huge contorted hand on the wheel, and my face way back there with such a serious look as I drive along, the composition, everything works perfectly in the frame...I just love it! I really don't think that I can improve upon it. I've stopped shooting night shots of myself driving.


Blogger taffer said...

Gloomy, dark and ominous, I love it :)
I am fascinated at how so many people turns off or covers their cameras when it gets dark, or they insist on burning everything to a nuclear white with their flashes at 30 cm of the subject.
Atmosphere is what I want, that's it.

6:52 AM  

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