david schrott is everywhere

november songs are sung quietly

Posted in B&W Photography, Lancaster, Personal Work by thebreakfastdictator on 11/10/2013
november songs are sung quietly

november songs are sung quietly

This photo is now ten years old, and I still consider it my best. My Senior Thesis was a remarkably difficult effort. For the two years prior, I had been making endless amounts of black and white photos (sometimes shooting 20-25 rolls of film in a weekend) with a moderate to high amount of “success”. I’m honestly still not sure what “success” may mean as a 23 year old photo major (getting A’s and the praise of your professors, I guess; which did nothing but feed the ego that was about to be deflated by the long, tragic, nine-month war that was my thesis).

During the summer before my Senior year, I worked hard at creating a style that was my own, and by the Fall term, I was flailing – mostly at my own hot air. I tried color, b&w, still life, portrait, tableaux. Nothing was working. At some point, I realized that there was a poultry store in the Italian Market that sold doves. I purchased a few for eight dollars each and began experimenting with those. Annnnnnd everything was awful.

One November weekend, my roommate and I drove out to Lancaster and made some photos in, what was then, the Lancaster Futon Building, which was mostly empty and owned by Andrew Martin and some of his business partners. The third floor was essentially my studio for four to five cold months while I ground out photo after horrible photo.

…Except for that one night Lee and I were on the third floor. We named the bird Burt Reynolds and as I was packing my gear after a really boring and deflating shoot, Burt was sitting in his cage with the Fulton Opera house illuminating the background. I opened my camera lens to 2.8, set the shutter at one second and spun out one final roll, hoping something, just something would be worthwhile on it.

A few days later, I processed and contact printed the film. And there it was. The most beautiful image I have ever made. My jaw dropped and I immediately made a bunch of prints (currently, they sit in a box on my dashboard). For one bright moment amidst the nine dark months of my thesis, I sat content. Replicating success, especially accidental success, is quite often very difficult. This photo is my benchmark for excellence (at least in my own repertoire) and each and every time I pick up the camera, I strive, strain and yearn for one more happy accident.

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One Response

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  1. Anna Urquhart said, on 11/11/2013 at 7:53 am

    A stunning photo, David! Those moments of excellence most often are “accidental” discoveries that come after long and laborious days, weeks, months. They come because of the labor. And they come in their own good time. Love this post. Thanks.


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