Louisville Magazine

DEC 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.18 33 Focused on Film "With digital, the camera is just a pretty expensive Xerox machine." By Sean Patrick Hill I'm alone in the woods with my camera. I aim it at a sycamore root that snakes into the nearly still Rock Run Creek, at Bernheim Forest south of Louisville. It is the root's animal quality, the tendril-like reaching of the burled and knotted wood, that •rst drew my attention. I've photographed it before, but I remain unsatis•ed. On this spring evening, I brace one leg of the steel tripod against a shard of limestone and grind the other two legs into the gravelly bank. •e camera body points at a downward angle toward the water. Should someone comment on the camera, as they frequently have when I'm in the •eld, they often refer to it as an "old-fashioned camera." •e accordion-style bellows resemble the cameras crafted of wood, leather and brass from more than 100 years ago. Mine, though, is far more recent, produced in Switzerland in the 1970s by a company called Sinar. Mounted on an aluminum rail, the camera is mostly hard black plastic, with a 210-millimeter lens that projects an inverted image onto a ground-glass screen. It's called a "large-format view camera." •e negatives, I explain to passersby, are four-by-•ve inches (4x5), which can absorb more light and result in far more detail than smaller •lm. Every leaf, every stone on the creek bottom, every cloud re"ected in the water. In the early 20th century, this level of superb detail was known as "straight photography." I peer through the goggles attached to the bellows, making adjustments — camera movements known as tilts, swings and shifts — until the image is crisp on the ground glass. I close the iris on the lens, and the ground glass goes dark. At this point, I can do little but trust my judgment. I set the aperture and shutter speed. I slide a •lm holder, embedded with a 4x5 black-and-white negative, directly in front of the ground glass. It clicks into place. I attach the cable release to the lens. I cock the shutter. I release the shutter. I have photographed, more or less, for nearly 25 years. I took my •rst serious shots on a 35-millimeter camera I borrowed from a younger brother. Most of us are familiar with that type of camera: metal body (most often made in Japan), standard lens, the wonderful audible snap of the shutter. It remains the standard beginner's camera for Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Lovers Point Park (California), by the author; Bernheim Forest, by the author; Monastery Beach (California), by the author; dilapidated building at Dundee Road and Yale Drive, by Fred DiGiovanni; Fletcher Falls (British Columbia), by DiGiovanni; Cherokee Park, by DiGiovanni; Glacier Na- tional Park (Montana), by DiGiovanni; downtown Louisville, by Andrew Cenci. This page, from top: Glacier National Park, by DiGiovanni; downtown Louisville, by Cenci; author's photo of his daughter, Teagan.

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