Photography Without Pictures?

If I have a camera with me I'll make pictures. I just can't help myself. I am far better at not constantly making pictures now but I worked at that quite a bit. In fact I still do.


I gave a cavalier reference to what I was doing for the better part of five days a month or so ago while on a bit of a hiatus away from home. Mostly I talked about why it was ridiculous I did not own a 35mm prime for my Fuji gear yet. A bit of a fuller picture might be good to jot down.

The vast majority of those five days was spent out and about on the town without a camera. Not because I forgot it or because I was too lazy to carry it. It was on purpose as I wanted not to be too fixated on the subject of Alicia or Tricia. Instead I wanted to observe everything and everyone around us every where we went. My main mission was to observe backdrops, contexts, and people inhabiting the place we went when I introduced some of the elements of this project or The Chastity side-project into these spaces and places.

I did take a camera out once or twice but only made a few pictures and was far more observant of any changes in dynamic now that there was a camera. The picture above is the very first picture I made on one of those literally two occasions.


One of the things I know I am not good at when in "take picture mode" is observing what's going on around me so even when I did bring a camera I made sure not to go berserk with getting into picture taking mode. To take this project where I want it to go I need to really be aware of the dynamics of the various places and the people in them and attune myself to reactions or lack of them and how they play against what I have in mind.

From the street, to elevators, to restaurants, and Uber vehicles I wanted to get a sense of context and how everything played together as well as get a remote vision on how to juxtaposition it all. I didn't do much realization of that but it was certainly worth the effort and gives me a far better place to start than if I would have spent the time making pictures without going thru immersing myself into it without a camera first.

I thought one of the biggest challenges at the start of this project a year ago was going to be finding collaborators that sort of got where I was going with it. Turns out that was the easy part. I probably have too many people that want to do it now. Not a bad problem to have. The far bigger challenge to me is giving up control to circumstance and having an open mind with enough situational awareness to make use of what's going on. For myself sometimes it's better to figure that out without camera in hand.

One opportunity that I didn't predict was Alicia's plan, or whim to go 24x7 with the bits of gear I wanted to do experiments with "maybe for an outing or two". It turned what I expected into something far broader and I came away with far more than I had hoped for in terms of ideas and opportunities. On occasion I did make a picture or two prior to us all hitting the town. Above Alicia getting ready (can't tell you how much time I've spent in my life waiting for "getting ready" but that's another project).

On other occasions I would make a few frames upon return when the light was fading and we were in that lazy part of the day prior to plans for the evening. Some of those are my favorites. Even looking thru the few I made here and there with the 18-55 XF confirms my ultimate kit is probably the 18/2 and the 35/2 for the more public venues I have in mind. Perfectly discrete, non invasive, quiet.

Alice getting ready for dinner one evening as the light fades. I think she opted for another dress in the end. The stockings and bizarre knickers stayed. The collar was a 24x7 promised to her when I was done with it. Hamming it up a bit for the camera below.

End Notes

All photos made with the Fuji XT-1 and 18-55 XF. Processing via Lightroom CC with VSCO FILM06 TRI-X+1 and TRI-X+2