When I was in high school, my dream was to be creative with a 35mm single lens reflex camera (SLR). I had read about how you could select an aperture and shutter speed and focus the lens to shape your composition. The appeal to the engineer inside me was immense, plus unlike any of the plastic Kodak versions I had used, they were made of metal and looked like the ones I saw the Beatles use. The journey had begun.
Over the years, there were starts an stops to my creative journey - interruptions aplenty from the kaleidoscope of life. I still have that camera and the prime lenses that I used. It hasn't seen service since the new millennium, but others certainly have. I have come to realize that the fascination with cameras is natural. When we hold them in our hands, they connect our head and heart to what we feel. Photography is exciting and shiny new things like cameras and lenses are part of that excitement.
Processing, on the other hand, can be like needing to do the laundry when you want to wear a favorite pair of jeans. We would rather just grab the jeans and go. Not much excitement here until we see the results of the process. There was nothing like the magic that occurred in the developing tray. Before our very eyes, an image would appear out of nothingness and we would watch the details emerge and take shape on the paper underneath the developing chemicals.
The same thing occurs now, when the proof print rolls off of an inkjet printer. A hint of bigger things to come. At this point, shiny cameras and lenses seem to matter less - it is all about seeing the image c0me to life before your eyes. Your photographic experience becomes a tangible reality that can be appreciated not in pixel count or technical jargon, but simply by processing it with out eyes and heart.
Printing is the most exciting way to become a better photographer. It has always been about the excitement.
See ya around,