Light & Shadow #43

Ballerina — Moscow, ID Circa 1974

I remember both excitement and disappointment when I look at this picture. Excitement because of the mood it evoked, and disappointment over how poorly it translated to newsprint.

The fact I made a picture of this ballerina at all was enough cause for celebration. With hardly more than a sliver of window light, a slow shutter speed, and a steady hand were all I had going for me. The limitations photographers faced for decades are all but gone with the cameras and software of today. It’s a funny thing — technology has made the craft too easy on the one hand and very complex on the other. I have a good grasp of light and cameras, but my skill with software is another matter altogether. I only know enough to be dangerous, as they say.

My disappointment came from expectations of the printing process that were a little too high. Newsprint is only slightly better quality than toilet paper, and a newspaper press is all about speed. Just as my reporter friends wanted their words to reflect a high level of skill, I wanted my pictures to look their best, and this one lost all pizzazz once ink hit the paper.

Oh well, it’s likely the only ones who cared were me and my ego.

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