RGB Diary

Words and thoughts about life and photography.


At sixty now,
thinking back to age five,
my first desired object,
a camera in a window,
pictures came later,
dreamed images came first.
Words About Photography

        I write about photography as a way of sharing the process of the image, how I came to the moment of exposure, and what I did about it. A simple story but a long journey from there to the ever advancing in time here. As the saying of measuring the tree after it's demise goes, the photographic instant is over when the shutter closes, all else is just commentary.

        Commentary can be called post processing or self analysis depending upon wether we are considering the photograph or the photographer, in the case of this website we are considering both.

        My first photographic desire as remembered with my Mother shopping on Hester Street, on the Lower Eastside for a graduation gift for a cousin, graduating from high school or college, and I graduating from either kindergarten or first grade saw a little roll film camera with two red windows on the back in a store and wanted for my own. Terrible to say this but I do not remember if I received it or not, just the memory of wanting the camera has been with me for these ensuing years.

        The camera as object of desire became the apple of knowledge, leading me thru decades of dark fumed rooms, a hell of unsavory characters toiling for no recompense at some private activity best left to the imagination of those most vivid.

        My family had Argus cameras, my father had a twin lens roll film camera and my uncle Jerry had a thirty five millimeter C3, he shot Kodachrome and had little color prints made, but the true visionary font for me was the square black and white prints produced by the twin lens of my father. I reprinted some of his negatives during the days of my Martin Street darkroom, and the images are even more striking and elemental at a large size printed with care and confidence.

        The march of memory recalled, each exposure a step receding past the floating point of the present, the static cursor on a scrolling screen.

        The New York Worlds Fair in 1964 is best remembered by my Instamatic 300, I purchased it a S. Kleins on Union Square, near my High School Stuyvesant. This was of the first generation of format 126 Instamatics that Kodak produced the 300 model had a selenium cell meter and used AG-1 flashbulbs, the 100 and 200 had less features and the 400 and 500 had more, the camera worked it took square pictures but I do not remember any images and that period in my life is lost to me memory wise.

        The next camera also was purchased at S. Kleins, this was my first thirty five millimeter, a Yashica Lynx 1000. The camera had a f1.8 lens and a shutter that reached a one thousandth of a second. Film from this camera was processed in my bathroom using Kodak tanks with aprons not reels and a Federal Enlarger that I bought from Olden Camera in New York. The camera district used to be around the Herald Square area and I was drawn to the stores as the windows filled with goodies used and new all exotic and all using film.

        I love cameras, perhaps more so in the past when I thought they would be immortal with film being their blood, but now having been disillusioned and converted to digital capture I no longer see a camera as a companion for life, but rather a two year affair enough time to become acquainted and disillusioned while waiting for the next pretty face.

        The 1958 vintage Rolleiflex that I purchased in 1975 for seventy five dollars could have been the only camera that I needed for the rest of my life, and indeed it supplied almost thirty years of faithful service before being put away for the fading use of film.

        Digital is much better at creating order due to its embedded capture time, data that can be used to string the discrete moments together a lifetime timeline.

        The years before these last few are the PRERGB years the days and nights of silver and Dektol, the smell and the image of Edward Weston's darkened fingernails, and also of Charis Wilson in the sand, and pea soup and coffee and California of course, and so it goes images and memories recalled and preserved.

        Urban wilderness shadow patterns,
        Thought frame algorithms applied,
        Attempted definition of abstraction,
        Back brain journey named.

Words and images within this site © Richard Alan Fox All Rights Reserved