When I was kid, one of my favourite books was Patric Moore’s Can you speak Venusian.* It is still a good read – Crusty old Moore (and as I write, he’s alive and kicking at 87 – it seems to me he was always old and crusty) indulgently outlines all manner of kooky outsider theories and pseudoscience. I wonder how he feels at 87 to see that the world is just as irrational…
One of the ideas that delighted me the most was the person who had their own optical theories, and crammed all manner of odd shaped lenses into a ridiculously piebald, monstrous telescope, which would let him the edges of the universe, which so elude traditional optics.
Maybe this is where my interest in dodgy lenses and optical impurities came from.
Most likely, the view from the eyepiece was something like that captured by the wonderful Alan Jaras, who is certainly exploring his own universe of optical caustics.
Just as this dodgy optical explorer built crazy theories around concatenated optical pieces, so to have I built a theory by adding some dark glass to an old Russian lens.
Children live in a different world. Maybe they inhabit the same space, but they are in a different time continuum. If you use an ND110 filter, which is basically cheap, dark sunglasses for your camera, (would that more properly be sunmonocle?) you need to leave your shutter open for a long time to gather enough light for an image. Then, you can see the truth that regular optics can’t.
Okay, I’m being playful, but I do think this technique captures something of the energy of childhood that is quite difficult to pin down.
What things can “irregular” photography show us that are usually hidden, do you think?