Accepting the entire circle, what the camera had made, was important to me. It involved recognition of the inherent nature of things. I had set out to describe the world with my domain, to live a quality with things. Enrichment, I saw, involves a willingness to accept a changing vision of the nature of things – which is to say, reality. Often I had thought that things teach me what to do. Now I would prefer to say: As things reach us what we already are, we gain a vision of the world.
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Monday, 5 September 2016
the allure of train travel OVVERO the circle is perfect?
(...) the fascination of reading on the train...landscape and reflections/perplexity ...
a new project.
Popular photography can properly be said to have started 120 years ago with the introduction of the Kodak camera, the invention of an American, George Eastman (1854-1932). It was a simple, leather-covered wooden box – small and light enough to be held in the hands. Taking a photograph with the Kodak was very easy, requiring only three simple actions; turning the key (to wind on the film); pulling the string (to set the shutter); and pressing the button (to take the photograph). There wasn’t even a viewfinder – the camera was simply pointed in the direction of the subject to be photographed. The Kodak produced circular snapshots, two and a half inches in diameter. The Kodak was sold already loaded with enough paper-based roll film to take one hundred photographs. After the film had been exposed, the entire camera was returned to the factory for the film to be developed and printed. The camera, reloaded with fresh film, was then returned to its owner, together with a set of prints. To sum up the Kodak system, Eastman devised the brilliantly simple sales slogan: ‘You press the button, we do the rest.’
p.s. In the late-sixties Emmet Gowin gave the circle another shot. In his 1976 monograph, Photographs, he writes:
About the circular pictures: I had quite forgotten that it was the nature of the lens to form a circle and in 1967 my only lens was a short Angulon intended for a small camera. I’d been given an old Eastman View 8×10 and brought the two together out of impatience and curiosity. After a while, I recognized the wonderful exaggeration near the edge. I began to use the camera with the lens, but for several years I would trim these prints so that the circle was disguised. Eventually I realized that such a lens contributed to a particular description of space and that the circle itself was already a powerful form.