Jacob’s Ladder, Sharon Temple

Jacob's Ladder, Sharon Temple.

You are about to enter a building “calculated to inspire the beholder with astonishment.”

William Lyon Mackenzie, 1830 describing Sharon Temple.

Upon entering Sharon Temple from the eastern doors you are immediately greeted with the inspiring view of “Jacob’s Ladder,” a steep set of stairs which leads to the musician’s gallery on the second floor. Amazingly; Sharon Temple was built, beginning in 1825, by the Children of Peace, a group of men and women who had broken away from the Quakers in 1812 under the leadership of David Wilson and master builder Ebenezer Doan.  It is truly one of the most beautiful and serene buildings I have ever been in.  Please contact me for print sales details, enjoy the image.

There is a entertaining and insightful read from the New Yorker where eight renowned photographers discuss how they’ve navigated technological changes in the medium all taken from the new book “From Darkroom to Daylight.

Here is my story:  I originally started my career while view cameras reigned supreme.  My first large format camera was a old broken down wooden SpeedGraphic which I lovingly patched up and restored to do commercial work. The income from those jobs paid for my sleek gleaming Sinar P.  As a assistant I can remember cutting 4×5 sheet film from 8×10 sheets in the dark, seeing my first 8×10 transparency and being awed by the clarity of a 16×20 transparency of drapery for a Sears catalog.

Times started to change and I could see the writing on the wall.  I moved to a in house photographic position at a major home decor and giftware  company with a forward thinking vice president who loved technology.  Soon I was shooting with a PhaseOne digital camera back attached to a computer, light with Scandles(puffball lighting) and quickly learning Photoshop which I think was  version 3 or 4.  A few years later,  thanks to the same vice president I was lucky enough to be using one of the first Phaseone single capture backs in Canada.

During that time my personal work was all done by film, including photo expeditions with either of my 4×5 cameras.  I shot lots of film, primarily black and white, processed it and put it away.  I spend less and less time in the Darkroom alone with the chemicals and smells.  To this day I have pages of negatives never uncatalogued or printed; although I hope to purchase a good scanner someday.

A few years ago I finally purchased a Canon D5 for my commercial and personal work, relegating my old film cameras including the speed graphic to my bookshelf as old trophies.

Do I miss large format cameras?  Not really.  Do I miss the look of a well printed large format negative?  Yes.  Do I miss 35mm?  No.  My digital cameras allow me to do so much more, to explore more, to play more.  I can decide at my leisure whether the finished image will be black and white or colour. Will I go back to film?  Quite possibly, considering I still have a passion for alternative processes like palladium printing.

Do I miss having a darkroom?  No.  I actually developed quite a fondness for Photoshop and love the idea of being able to save a image and come back to it.  I love the fact I can sit in my office exploring the possibilities of a image or developing a specific look, saving countless versions and printing off one or two to suit my mood.

But enough about me for now; I’d love to hear your feelings and experiences about the change of our medium from film to digital.  Hopefully we can start a interesting dialogue.

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