Rarely does one come across undeveloped film anymore. My hot and cold affair with a medium format camera means I go through phases where I am reminded that real film has no equal--usually brought on by vacation and traveling to some place where everything looks new and different, followed by another 6-9 months of the camera sitting in a drawer. The iphone photos would have long ago been posted on instagram and forgotten. These are the circumstances under which I recently discovered several rolls of undeveloped film.
not THE diagon alley, and not the center of wizarding, but a diagon alley of sorts, and certainly the center of street food cravings in phuket, thailand. during the day, this alley would remain open but it had a sleepy quality- mostly functioning as a shady respite for anyone walking by and seeking a cold coconut. but at night, the alley came alive with lights, people, and scooters pushing through. the center area of each stall seemed to offer a secondary function as a tv lounge for the owners, which seemed quite useful. the flickering light from the tvs as one walked by, along with an olfactory tunnel of grilling foods, all add to the mysterious quality at night.
in the spirit of continuing to look closely at my own backyard [the backyard being wellington as a whole], i took these photos on the miramar mountain bike path one afternoon. perhaps because of the limited resolution, lytro seems to have issues with shooting into a source of light. but i felt here, this particular technical flaw evokes a sense of intrigue and mystery. maybe this really is just a flawed photo, but i think the notion of an actual low-fi aesthetic is an interesting and useful one for telling certain kinds of stories. district 9 comes to mind as a really well-crafted example. and of course we have blair witch to thank for popularizing the whole concept.
in continuing to experiment with the lytro, i've been playing around with it's built-in filters. the line art filter converts everything to a sort of rotoscoped look. i admit there is hip disposable instagram potential here. loads of it. but there is also a way in which the thing being photographed becomes distanced, and through a quality of constructedness, observed freshly as if for the first time. in this case perhaps a tree is a tree is not a tree...
"...if reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? and if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others?" -philip k. dick
i'm not that interested in talking specifically about different kinds of cameras and why one is better than the other. but i do think the lytro is an intriguing piece of technology because it tries, in a new way, to address the disparity between the way we see things with our eyes and the way we capture them as an image. a photographic image can be a beautiful thing that represents part of something we saw for a fraction of a moment. what i find compelling about lytro's "living stories" as they call them, is that a single "story" seeks to represent the multiple ways an object was seen in a single moment. the multi focus and perspective shift are no doubt clumsy approximations of what our eyes are capable of. yet the technology does indicate that there was more going on than we can capture, and by doing so it opens up our representation of reality[or realities] just a little bit more.