By Del Green
7 May 2019
Once more I have the overwhelming need to grab my armor and lance down from the shelf. The dragon awaits. That perfection of an image in my mind’s eye that must be obtained. I have used all manner of weapons to attain it. Rolleiflex, Pentax, Olympus, Holga, Diana, Lumix have not produced the beauty that I seek. The soft blur, the tack sharp subject area, that perfect depth of field with just a slight whisper of a vignette. I have used film, 35mm, 120, color, black and white, slide film. Recently I adapted vintage Russian lenses to my digital camera arsenal to no avail. Like Don Quixote have I left to battle an enemy that only exists in my delusion.
Meanwhile, crafty camera manufacturers taunt me with new and improved weapons. They offer mighty firepower. 24, 50, 100 megapixels with 16 frames per second bursts, 4k even 5k! These cameras will produce an image so sharp the average human eye can’t see the difference. All for the price of the last used car I bought. Of course, that’s body only. Now how about a lens? For a couple, a grand more I can own a lens so fast my bokeh will have bokeh. The aperture was so wide the lens cap falls off. This too only exists in my delusion. Oh, I tried to justify it in my mind that I could do great things with such a weapon. I would slay the dragon that eludes me. Live the rest of my golden years in peace and prosperity. Not gonna happen! If someone special offered me a free Leica Q would I take it? Yes Please! Would it improve my photography? I doubt it. I would be so enamored with this $4000.00 piece of art that It would never come out of the box.
So like the man from La Mancha, I will never defeat this foe for it is not real. The perfect image is not out there waiting. There is no such thing. I have the great fortune to work in an art museum. I am surrounded by masterful paintings and sculptures. Each day I enter this wonderful space I look in awe at this amazing collection. Each time I notice one thing. None of them are perfect. If I stand close to the painting it is a mass of swirling color. A flick of white paint a glob of gray a swoop of gold is nothing up close. Step back and becomes a beautiful pearl earring dangling from a young girls ear. Angry, aggressive, textured streaks of pastel greens, blues and yellows muddle together seen close. Move back and I’m suddenly in a grove of windblown olive trees. I’m well aware I’ll never be a known photographer. I will be “Tilting at windmills” until the last shutter closes. That fact will never hinder my quest for the perfect image. Besides, it’s so much fun chasing dragons.