The waiting | The 2013 Remenyik Open
I shot with film perhaps only once in my life, and was on my father’s old Canon SLR camera. I grew up around film, though, as part of a generation to see the transition into digital. One aspect of film that is foreign to the digital world of today was having to wait until a roll was shot, and then having to send in the roll and wait for developing in a dark room before seeing the actual photograph itself, either as a print or as a transparent slide. There was the exception of near instant Polaroid film, of course. However, it could sometimes take a month or two before seeing what that roll of film contained. There was an exciting anticipation of not knowing the final result, the thrill of having to wait.
That exciting anticipation has dwindled to near oblivion in the fast digital world around us today. We live in an Instagram and Snap Chat age, where photos are shared immediately and people want to see them now, now now. So consumed we are to get the latest image out to the social media realm that we often rush into the photographic process. Less thought goes into an image, less care and detail, and as such, less emphasis and emotional impact. I am, of course, generalizing, as I have seen many deep and meaningful photos published almost immediately after it was taken by one of my peers. But on a substantial whole, in our rush, we still must sometimes stop and think for a moment, and to restore some care into what we produce, both after pressing the shutter and afterwards in our digital darkrooms—the computer.
Not that I am asserting an affirmative defense for taking six weeks to publish a non-commissioned photo set by advocating that we should take more time in unveiling our creative works. My actually affirmative defense is that I have been so bloody neck deep in other works that, as much as I am passionate about my fencing photos, unless they are a commissioned work, my higher responsibilities and priorities will preempt them. Rather, I espouse that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
For some, a well done job only takes days, and the resulting work is fantastic and phenomenal. I prefer to take my time, however. It goes counter to the mantra of many professional photographers who must meet deadlines. The photos must go out when due, regardless. And I hold myself to that standard when I am shooting for a client, of course. As much as I want my fencing photos out as soon as possible for my audience to see, and especially for the fencers in my images to see themselves in action, I will not publish shoddy work. Even if it takes me much longer than my esteemed colleagues, I will take my time. It is certainly a balancing act between getting the work down as soon as feasible, to taking too much time that the work is never finished, to taking too much time that people have forgotten about the event altogether. I am not that concerned of the latter, however, as the very purpose of a photograph is serve as a reminder of an event and of that moment.
Six weeks it took me to get this photo set ready, as the project hovered around giving way for my other works, photographic and none. It is about time, then, that these photos finally have their own moment.
All images © K. Dao Photography 2013, all rights reserved.