Monday, July 13, 2009

Packing, Cameras, Photographs...

As I contemplate unpacking (which incidentally takes ten times as long as packing), I am reminded of the question Mark asked me in Marfa. Was there anything that Nancy and I brought that we did not use? Since we had an entire library (albeit condensed), nine cameras, and "performance gear" which we ended up using for the most part, this is a legitimate question.

The one thing that I never mentioned that is my greatest tragedy (I am possibly still in denial) is that I bought a carry-on suitcase to haul two cameras - my Canon 5-D took up half the space and the Pentax 6x7 and 22 rolls of film took up the other half. I took a couple practice rolls with the latter and knew that it was in working order before leaving. UNFORTUNATELY, the very first photograph I took of the Spiral Jetty, the shutter stayed open permanently. My big plan on taking photographs and developing/printing the film to look aged so far beyond the 1960s was foiled.

The camera resided in the suitcase the whole trip and it wasn't until I watched security tear open every single roll of medium format film in the El Paso airport, did I realize how much of a loss that was. After the fact, I realized that Nancy and I were so busy spending 1.5 - 21 hours at each location, it seemed insurmountable to also include this task. Honestly I don't regret it too much - if anything, I learned that I take far better photographs of landscapes when there are objects and people interacting with them. The images I would have taken on the 6x7 would not have included that, which is why I can convince myself that it isn't too large of a loss. [I do realize that I could have found a camera store along the way but I could not imagine the series minus Spiral Jetty and there was no time in our schedule to return].

We did return a little lighter (though I don't know if Nancy's 73 pound suitcase fits that category) by shipping the nesting boxes and a large parcel full of most of the outfits and objects collected.

Tip #002: Flat rate shipping works great for sending back dozens of rocks from the Bonneville Salt Flats. Highly recommended!

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