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Road to Calgary 

click to enlarge Greg Martin, large-format photograph, 2006
  • Greg Martin, large-format photograph, 2006
Since Greg Martin has been old enough to snap a photo, he’s been compulsively documenting the world around him. Even childhood vacations were less a time to relax, than a time to capture the world on film.

“If there were four mountains, six buildings, and five rivers, I’d make sure I took pictures of four mountains, six buildings, and five rivers,” says Martin.

Because his cataloging obsession began to detract from the pleasure of his travels, 15 years ago he stopped taking pictures in favor of more time spent relaxing.

About six years ago, his passion for photography was rejuvenated by orchid contests he’d enter that required photos for the judges. Soon after, he began feeling the tug again when he came across a sunset or during hikes through the Shawangunks.

After seeing some magnificent larger prints produced by an another local photographer, he purchased a large-format camera. Despite its cumbersome body and clunky 19th century design, it proved to have certain advantages over modern digital cameras. For example, the large film it required allowed for highly detailed enlargements. Also, there were adjustable lenses that kept both close and distant objects in focus and prevented buildings and trees from “leaning.” But, perhaps most importantly, the lengthier process necessary to set and shoot forced him to slow down and give more thought to the endeavor.

“You can certainly get some nice shots by walking around and clicking away,” says Martin. “But I think using the large-format camera gives you a chance to better examine the scenery. The percentage of shots that I’m happy with is much higher.”

This piece, Road to Calgary, is part of Martin’s current show, “Large Format, Big Country,” which will be on view at Riverwinds Gallery in Beacon from March 10 to April 9. The opening reception will be on March 10 from 4 to 7 pm. (845) 838-2880; www.riverwindsgallery.com.


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