Three Pears

Lillian Sly

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I’ve been interested and involved with photography since my late teens, when I hung around the school darkroom for hours.
My cameras include a 1957 Yashica LM, my casual walk-around camera; an early 60’s Hasselblad; my beloved, bashed-up, late 40’s Crown Graphic, my favorite camera for a hike in the woods; and a 1928 Korona 8×10 view camera – too big for hiking, but used for still life and portraits in my home. Three digital cameras round out my film camera collection. I gave away my digital Nikon about 5 years ago. I found I was missing the physical, sensuous appeal of film, paper, chemicals and the thrill of an image emerging under the safelight.
It’s important to me to be fully engaged with the process. The slow pace demanded by film, especially large format, I find meditative. Cameras with no electronics or automatic settings demand full attention and an understanding of what happens when light hits film. I try to get into my darkroom at least once a week. As well as traditional silver gelatin B&W printing, I’ve been exploring lith printing, cyanotype, platinum/palladium, carbon, and gum bichromate. The extra work and challenges of historic/alternative processes keeps me enthralled. Slow photography – where a single print can take days of work; makes each successful print a triumph and a joy.