I purchased a new camera recently that I haven’t yet had a chance to fool around with. It has a lot of settings and options that I have no idea how to use, but would like to invest the time into learning. I bought it from a company in the States that sold it along with a collection of lenses and filters and tripods and not one but two cameras bags. It’s hands down the highest-end camera equipment I’ve owned.
The intent is to use it for some new projects. I’m no photographer. Picture taker, sure, but it’s been over a decade since that photography course I took in college, and I’ve long forgotten the ins and outs of apertures and f-stops and shutter speeds. That photography course was a favourite of mine. We worked with black and white film in dark rooms. I remember the shuttle-like door we had to step through; the pure blackness of the space where we stood at a counter and removed the strips safely, fumbling with our invisible hands; the smell of the chemicals in the small white trays. Tricks with exposure and the burning of images into contact sheets. I miss it. My sister, who is constantly surprising me with her own photography prowess, is going to give me a few pointers when i visit the family in June.
This past week I suffered a bout of what I’ve deemed “creation rage.” No sooner had I wrapped up “Ghost World/Real World” that I learned about a terrific-looking critical edition of the graphic novel that’s due out in July. What’s more, Pacific Cinematheque announced an event celebrating the release of a book about Vancouver film locations that I dreaded would step all over my next bit of blogging, or at least rob from the joy of obsessively combing through shots for landmarks. This isn’t the first time synchronicity has reared its ugly head when I’ve wanted to create something. My rage was satiated a bit by this great blog that answers the eternal question, “Why bother?” We bother because the work is never done. The thought is never said. No result is going to be as precise as the one we produce on our own. So write the millionth love song. People will hear it if it’s the right song for them.
I received a copy of that film locations book in the mail today. The launch featured a talk from some industry and scholar types, who raised some interesting points about Vancouver’s identity, particularly one about it being a “non-place” lacking a history, an observation I recall Douglas Coupland making a few years back. There’s something key to the Vancouver consciousness in that point. I have a feeling it feeds into how difficult it is to connect with people here. It has something to do with a regionally championed artifice, a not-quite-realness, a schizophrenia of place that’s reflected in the city’s stacked neighbourhoods. I’m going to take a closer look at the book soon. It focuses quite a bit on some obscure Canadian flicks, which should make for a neat read beyond the expected “Wesley Snipes stalking vampires in Gastown” material.