Thursday, October 13, 2005


On a cloudy Monday, after finishing the first roll of black and white film and bringing it in for processing, I rode down River Road to the Target in Edgewater, hoping to find color film cheap. Edgewater needs to get a clue and bike lane River Road. It could and should be a main bike artery for commuters going to the ferry to New York.

I found the cheap film I coveted and loaded it into my lomo fisheye (I need to name that camera), and advanced the film:

September 26, 2005 - outside Target

Continuing to advance:

Riding back up to Fort Lee from Edgewater is a bit of a hill which might be daunting to some would-be cyclists. But what I learned from cycling in the Bay Area is that you develop the muscles with just a little effort. And the rewards of tackling a hill and it getting easier and easier far outweighs the initial strain and effort. Although for that stretch of River Road, a little more fortitude is necessary to deal with the car traffic.

At the top of River Road is the historic Fort Lee Park, site of the historic...Fort Lee. I have no idea what I'm talking about. It has a keen George Washington Bridge overlook, great for bridge watching, if you're into that sort of thing:

I decided for now to continue my practice that I do with black and white film of flipping the negatives. But I might switch and not do it for color negatives. The idea behind doing it with black and white negatives is to remove the image even one more step from reality. First, you remove the depth dimension, then you remove color, then you remove the wider context by framing the shot. I take it one step further and flip the negative to subliminally emphasize the removal from reality. I don't flip the negatives if there are words in the shot that are central to the image or might call too much attention to the fact that the shot is flipped.

With color, I dunno. Adding the color dimension brings it that one step back to reality, and it's a balance or momentum thing. Bringing color back to an image also makes me want to bring back the real perspective of the shot. You decide, here's what the shot looks like unflipped, m'kay?:

See? There is a difference, don't you think? Of course, the fisheye is another removal from reality.

What I find interesting about flipping negatives is that most people won't notice unless they're very familiar with a scene. But with people even mildly familiar with a scene, they might not notice because of the symmetry of perspective. Nothing looks wrong with that flipped shot of the GW Bridge. People familiar with it might just see it taken from the north side, instead of the south. But once you know the negative is flipped or can compare the shots, there's something comforting about the forward shot. You go, "oh yea, that's right, those buildings go there, and that is there".

And people not familiar with a scene, even if they are told the shot is flipped, it's really hard to imagine a shot flipped forward when the reversed shot has already been forced on you. You just have to settle that this is not at all what the scene looked like. I like fudging with reality. Mm, fudge. Like Chef's salty chocolate balls.

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