Twenty one posts ago I acquired a small digital camera. My first, a Canon a570. It is a small affair, not sleek, but with enough manual settings that I have a sense of control. Since then, I've been using the camera to document my life and make image sketches for my "serious" work in medium format and 4x5.
The question that's been bugging me is whether this camera can make a beautiful picture. Hold on, let me clarify: the question is, whether, in my hands, the camera is able to render a scene with the clarity and nuance that I desire. I've made pictures that are clear, that tell a story and a few that have a gurgling sort of drowning-man beauty, like, the blurry monochrome that a man drowning in daylight might see just before he looses consciousness.
This evening I made a hundred and ten dollar investment in Kodak 160 ISO Portra 4x5 film. NC for Natural Color. If you count the developing costs, I will, it's another hundred dollars. That's 210 dollars towards fifty pictures. At four dollars a shot, you bet I'm careful. But, and here's the thing, I have trust in the medium. I know that, if my exposure is on, and I've spent at least some time under the dark-cloth, I will have twenty square inches of a projection of the world, preserved onto acetate. With a little work in Photoshop, or the darkroom, I should find beauty there.
The digital camera, I do not yet trust. It's sensor is smaller than a postage stamp, and the lens is little larger than a contact. I am still nervous about approaching the world with this little box. So a couple hours ago, when a slash of orange light fell onto our ever cluttered table, and the floor around the table glowed with late summer evening blue, I grabbed my little Canon out of my back pack and, trusting it's image stabilization, held my elbows at my side and snapped away. This was the result: