“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” — Ansel Adams

Joseph Balson

An aimless walk a sunday morning in a dead city

Goethe said "The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone".
I walked alone, in the hope of finding, if not beauty, something that would catch my eye.

Out of boredom, simply walking, trying to empty my mind, with no plan, letting the surroundings inspire me. After all, even the dullest spot has something interesting, from a photographic point of view.

The venerable Minolta 7D, a 28mm F/2.8 and the 70-210 F/4 beercan in my bag, I left a little after sunrise. Bad light, low menacing grey clouds above me, no contrast: the perfect day for a black and white adventure.

I have a thing for old gear, simples knobs for the functions I need: aperture, speed and exposure compensation; slow AF forcing me to take more time, low pixel count forcing me to frame.

Those old lenses aren't the sharpest, the fastest, or even chromatic aberration free. I don't care. All these "limitations" are just part of the picture. They actually make the picture.

I'm reluctant to say it's true photography. Who can define what true photography is anyway? It's just photography that I like. No rush, no deadline: just me and the camera.

No agenda, no story to tell. Maybe it's more like meditation than anything else. No real distraction but the cold wind, and especially no human interaction.

So here am I, in that dead town, following a river. Nobody out there, no life but a couple little birds that I won't shoot. It could be quite depressing for a lot of people. I don't care: I'm already depressed anyway.

No assignment, today I'm only interested in composition and shapes, ambiance and visual impressions.

I'm feeling what I see, and I capture what I feel. I let the subject that caught my eye become self evident: there is only one framing that will do it, only one exposure that will turn my sensations into black and white pixels.

It's like that river in the end: a natural process. The camera is part of me, there is no obstacle in my process of creating images. I'm not shooting reality: I'm shooting what I feel, transposing emotions into something visual that I can share.

It's only shapes and textures in greyscale. Or is it something different? Is it the beauty Goethe is talking about? Beauty like photography are impossible to define. I'm just taking photos, and only vanity makes me think I can actually see beauty.

At least I see. And that makes me happy.