jarod and jennifer, oaxaca, mexico
This is a photograph that I initially scanned in low resolution when I first went through my photos from Mary Ellen’s workshop in Mexico. Mary Ellen had highlighted this one on the proof sheet amongst a bunch of similar shots, expressing that it had a nice sense of mystery, as you can’t tell what the object of interest is outside of the frame in Jarod’s hand (it was a toy aeroplane).
I always considered that the photograph could come up a lot better, so today I tracked down the XP2+ negative and tried again. I’m much happier with this scan. There is more detail in the shadows and less of the mushy “grain clouds” that this film gets when underexposed at 400 ISO (the exposure on the two children is fine, but as a result those dark areas are way underexposed, as this was happening in a dark corner of their house).
I used the camera and lens I stuck with throughout that workshop, my Leica with its 28mm lens. Recently I’ve decided that I’m going to commit to really work with the Leicas from now on. I’ve sold off the Hasselblad system (it was getting ridiculous on my back because of course you always feel you have to take along extra lenses, film backs etc) and ordered a Domke photo backpack that should help me to distribute the weight of the 35mm gear a bit more evenly.
The Leicas are, to all intents and purposes, perfect for doing this sort of work, the sort of work I most enjoy, being relatively small, kind of lightweight (I wish they were more so!) and, best of all, virtually silent. Plus I really like that trump-card characteristic of the rangefinder, where you can see what is happening outside of the frame and are therefore able to anticipate what might move into it. Also I really love using the 28mm - this lens has had quite a rest since the workshop, and it is high time it was put to good use again.
And, as for the picture, I’d like to think that I will take more photographs of this calibre, getting in close with a wide angle lens, and getting a feel not only I think for the relationship between this brother and sister, but posing questions about the mystery and wonder of childhood as well.