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Friday, 10 December 2021


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Hi Mike; top o' the season to you!

Your comment here that "record shots gain in stature as the things they record become unrecoverable otherwise brought to mind Paul C Smith's recent meditation."

Paul explains that time has improved his photography; by that he doesn't mean that he's taking better pictures now than he did in the past - instead he means that pictures he took years ago are better now than they were when he took them, in his eye & mind.

In the video, he narrates a selection of his old images and talks about how differently he now feels about them than he did when they were still new.

I found it quietly inspiring. It's here:



[Google is your friend. Enter any word followed by "def" to instantly get a definition. --Mike]

It's a record shot, but record shots gain in stature (that's my feeling, anyway) as the things they record become unrecoverable otherwise.

Mike, why did you use this term "record shot"? It's derogatory.

In one photograph, John Dersham tells us much about this quirky situation: the architectural exterior form, that it's a drive-through business situation, and that it sits out by itself within a large parking area. The photograph tells an interesting story, and that's why you remembered it.

The photograph struck me as really interesting. But you saw it only as a record shot.

Many people don't appreciate architectural form much, but others do.

Many wonderful photographs that intentionally document all kinds of worthy subjects, even people, could be maligned this way.

[A record. Documentary photography. I STRENUOUSLY disagree that there is anything derogatory in this term, and it certainly was not meant that way. --Mike]

Last year at the Foto-lock...

Yes, not then then, but the now :)
And taken with my Texas Leica, aka Fuji GW690III. There was a lockdown, so no people to scare away here...

I find the Texas Leica best used on a tripod and not for candid photography :)

Perhaps it’s a record shot and rather mundane, but from a purely composition and perspective viewpoint, it’s actually quite pleasing I think.

Here in Phoenix nail salons are now as ubiquitous as Fotomats once were. As a documentary photographer I should probably enter one and record the scene with my OM Zuiko 21mm f/3.5 lens, but I lack the courage.

In the '70s when I transitioned from painting to photography, a Fotomat many miles away was the light at the end of the tunnel. Photography was a mystery so I travelled those miles with excitement and an uncautious eagerness to spend money.

Sometimes I shudder at how fatuous my approach to photography was when I started, but mostly I'm nostalgic of that naiveness.

As for the two Fotomat hut images, I prefer the first. The second by John Dersham is of course the better of the two. But the first is more in line with my memories of that time, both personally and photographically.

PS. I’ve uploaded two images from the Fotomat period to my Flickr page. The first two.

John's a good guy. Glad you got a hold of him, Mike. Check out this "hut" business that opened in my town called Drum Box--a guy took two walk-in ATMs and made a place you can rock out on drums. https://drumbox.space/

Re: The Happy Birthday post… Maybe I am the only one, but I actually prefer the color photograph of the Fotomat in the OP.. The B&W one is terrific - don’t get me wrong. But the color one (no doubt shot on Fotomat film) captures the essence of the time and place better, IMHO.

Yes, I'd like yarns about ye olden days more frequently.

Anti-war protest at Westwood, CA Federal Building, 2003. Shot on Fuji Press 400, using a Canon Rebel Full-Frame-Film camera.

Bakery still around and strong. Travel agent (other than last 2 years) was ok. May be not in USA.

"...so maybe I need to turn my attention to OG O/C* photography and yarns about ye olden days more frequently.

If, as a long-time reader and occasional contributor to TOP, I may provide some "VOC" (Voice of the Customer) to Ye Humble Editor....please don't.

Personally, I'm not interesting in "looking backwards".

Instead, how about featuring some current photographers who are doing some amazing work, e.g. Kevin Mullins, Wayne Johns, or Steve Richard (in Canada)?


[You're not representative of the customer--you're what would be called a "core reader," someone who is so engaged with the subject that he is qualified to be a contributor. One of the common mistakes in magazine publishing is to mistake the core readership for the entire readership. Especially, the outer band is seldom recognized or served--in this case, that would be someone who doesn't feel qualified to comment and only visits intermittently or occasionally. The trouble with that is that most new readers enter through the outer band. You can look at the hi-fi magazines you're familiar with and see what happens when a publication overindulges its core. In any case, if there is a significant appeal to a type of content, it's not worth neglecting that type of content just because a vocal (sorry) segment of the core readership positions themselves against it.

But your idea of finding new photographers is a good one too. --Mike]

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