F FISCHER PHOTOGRAPHER

When I graduated from the Milwaukee Center for Photography I thought I could be good in many types of photography: landscapes, editorial, reportage, portrait, architecture, street, food, large format, travel, urban. So, I did anything I wanted, never settling down on one style. I still shoot like that. I find switching from one style to another very easy. That said I do tend to use certain format cameras for certain styles but even within those constraints there will be some crossover. Most photographers settle on one style and eventually they acquire their "look" but life is short and I dislike the constraints of one style just like I don't have regard for any one food. It will always be the smorgasbord for me.



Some more info....


I have slowed down shooting with the large format camera. The size and weight and the lack of spontaneity being a few of the reasons. I mostly shoot digital now. These cameras are set for monochrome, some are converted to capture infrared. Shooting only Black and White is a limitation I find exciting. I often use this analogy: When you photograph a banana in color you see yellow. When you see a banana in black and white you see the lines and spots, the curve and the tone. You know it's a banana but now the subject is not the color. A beautiful black and white print will let the viewer explore the image without some color overpowering the whole.


Back in the film era I shot a lot of infrared. Infrared is a spectrum of light that we can not see and I loved the idea of shooting in that invisible world. That mystery was so appealing I started photographing with infrared roll film and soon after 4x5. That type of film was very grainy and course and it had a very limited range. I always looked that those limitations as the flaws in fine leather. To understand how infrared could light a scene I shot under many different conditions. I did everything wrong: shot into the sun, shot indoors, shot everywhere just to see what I could do. Since light meters are not sensitive to infrared I had to learned to trust my instincts for exposure. It took many, many rolls before I could pre-visual a shot and understand how the film would respond in different lighting, environments, and to accuractly expose it. Now with a converted digital camera the range and exposure are easier to capture. Also now there is that little viewing screen to confirm what I just shot. And there is a difference in the look of tha digital image. Infrared film lacked an antihalation backing, making the hi-lights on a shot glow. Digital will not mimic this without some Photoshop work.


How I now print.


I started off making darkroom prints on silver gelatin paper; a chemically process. There are still many photographers who print that way but I have moved on. Pigment printers are what I currently use. It is the golden age for digital print media. Interestingly the media I find works well with my images is made by an old silver gelatin paper company. That Baryta media even smells like the darkroom papers of old. Getting an image to where I want it is a lot of work. Perhaps it is because of the ever increasing possiblilties to perfect an image. I often will work an image to a point and then live with a proof print for a while. Sometimes it will pass, sometimes it's back to the computer for some change. There are times when I can't help but miss the darkroom. The magic of the image appearing, the smells, the cathartic sound of running water. What I don't miss are those chemicals, the high water use and standing for hours.