Wedding & Portraiture
Fun And Freedom With 35mm

Photos © 1999, Monte Zucker, All Rights Reserved

So, what does a professional photographer do with his afternoon off? Take pictures. I'd never have believed it, myself, but going to our local art show in downtown Sarasota with a 35mm camera in hand allowed me to see more, possibly, than many of the other spectators. Undoubtedly, I was looking and seeing more acutely than had I gone there to just shop for more items to put in my already overcrowded house.

The freedom of the 35 camera with a single zoom lens was much more fun than I had ever anticipated. My eye expanded and contracted as it would had it been a series of lenses on the front of my camera. I saw overall scenes as well as intimate detailed close-ups of just about everything imaginable. What a kick.

I had seen posters around town leading up to this day, but I hadn't really seen the poster, itself, until I came in close to it and photographed it lying there on one of the tables. Everything that I might have taken for granted took on new importance, as I photographed freely and without any concern for whether or not it would "sell" to a customer. I can't believe how much fun I had.

A large crowd attracted my attention as soon as I began walking down Main Street. There were local ballet dancers performing to the admiration of their parents, families, and friends. What interested me in particular were the young aspiring ballerinas sitting on the ground, looking up to their "big sisters." Fortunately, I was able to crawl into a vantage point where I could see the little girls as well as the performing artists. I hadn't meant to editorialize, but it just seemed natural to wait for the right moment and get a picture there.

As I walked a few more steps, I was struck by the incredible hat that one of the gardening ladies was sporting. The back view said it all, and so I caught it from a low angle to show it off against the simplest background I could find in the midst of the tremendous crowd.

Did all my photographic techniques cross my mind as I was making these exposures? I can tell you definitely, no. But they must have come into play instinctively. As I looked at the pictures after returning home, I could see the subject matter that caught my attention and the composition of all my pictures were definitely influenced by my portrait background. Lighting, in particular, was one of the most important factors in establishing my camera's point of view. That is, I was always trying to get onto the shadowed side of my subjects, to create a more three-dimensional photograph.

A blanket calling attention to children who were seriously ill caught my attention a few moments later. At first I made a picture of the blanket, but I felt that this picture with the woman included made the picture a much stronger statement. You can read so much more into the photograph with her being outlined against the quilt. What thoughts might be going through her mind?

I don't know. There's just something special about having the freedom of a 35mm camera with a zoom lens. I kept shooting. I wanted to see it all and come back with a fun collection of snapshots that would remind me of how great it is to live in this wonderful world and, especially, in Sarasota, Florida.

In a far-off corner of this festival of local artists was a stage with a host of dancers performing their special ethnic dances. Looking for an interesting viewpoint, I found a corner of the stage where one of the performers had laid down his hat and jacket. Immediately I thought that this would be a great way to add a three-dimensional effect to my picture. So, I came in close and used his clothing that was casually dropped on the side as a foreground to the dancers. Without them, I think that the photograph would have been very ordinary. With them, however, I really feel like I captured something special.

A van to which all kinds of children's art was attached attracted a lot of attention. I photographed the van, itself, but the picture with the children in it made much more of a personal statement. I guess since I'm such a people person, I always try to get people into as many of my snapshots as I can.

Undoubtedly you can clearly see how much fun I was having, roving the show with my camera. I was really into it. Of course, there were countless displays of great art, but I was really too busy and having too much fun to seriously look at buying anything.

And the children--they were having the greatest time of them all. Face painting seemed to be the in-thing that day. Cutting and pasting was another. Even sidewalk art was exciting. You can see it all in my snapshots. I think that they sort of give you the feeling of having been there, don't you?

Okay, call me nuts, crazy, or anything you want to, but I can't believe that I'll ever go anywhere any more without a 35mm camera in my hands. For this little escapade I used my Canon EOS-1 with a 28-70mm zoom lens. I also had my camera set completely on automatic--I didn't have to think about a thing.

Hey, if you're going to enjoy yourself, you may as well "play" with great "toys." Okay, so it's not a toy, but it did get me much more involved with the arts festival than if I had to carry a larger, heavier camera. If I wasn't before, I'm definitely now going to be seen with a 35mm strung around my neck. Much better than getting my neck wrung off for bringing more "must have" art pieces home.

There's always room for fun pictures and memories like this, isn't there?