Dead Trees, New Zealand, 2008 © Emily Shur
I am pretty disappointed in myself right about now. I just watched the Stephen Shore video over on APE, and it made me realize that I have kind of given up on some things lately that are very important to me. First of all, for those of you who know me, you know that Stephen Shore is, for lack of a better word, my photogod. His work has meant so much to me in so many ways. I’m not going to go into the specifics of his photographic genius right now because that will take too long, but I am truly grateful that he and his work exists. It has changed my life immensely for the better.
Lately, I’ve been pretty lazy about shooting large format. With Kodak Readyload and Polaroid being no more, my way of photographing has been forced to change. I think I kind of swept those feelings of betrayal by those two companies under the rug and just plainly moved onto Fuji without acknowledging my grief. Don’t get me wrong; Fuji is fine, and I will shoot it. I do shoot it. It’s what this shift represents that’s more upsetting to me. I gradually started to feel like, ‘What’s the point? Why am I still bothering seeking out things like the Fujifilm 4×5 Instant Film holder when this format is obviously dying a slow and painful death?’
I took my 4×5 to New Zealand last November, and I did use it…not as much as my Mamiya 7, but I did make a point to bust it out a few times and make the effort. The above photo is one example of said effort. I also took my 4×5 to Tokyo a couple weeks ago. I did not even take it out of the bag once. I did take a lot of pictures, but they were all with my Mamiya 7. There were times when I thought, ‘This would be nice with the 4×5′, but that would require me to go back to my hotel, get all my shit together, get back on the train, set up, and take the same picture I just took with a perfectly good camera. I know – totally lazy, right?!
Watching Stephen Shore hoist that 8×10 on his shoulder woke me up. I know that he doesn’t shoot 8×10 all the time now, for every single shoot or picture, but the fact that he still shoots it at all illustrates that his love for the format overwhelms the logic and reality that it is not a practical way to photograph. Stephen Shore, I hear you loud and clear and again, thanks for showing me the way.
Oh and by the way, I did pick up one of those Fuji 4×5 Polaroid backs in Tokyo. It was 130 bucks. Money well spent.