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Rediscovering the Light

Text Copyright and Photography Copyright Larry Korhnak
All rights reserved.

Camera:    Rolleiflex TL (circa 1954)
Lens:        N/A
Flash:       None used
Support:    Bogen 3211
Film:         Kodak T-Max 100
Exposure: Determined with Nikon N70
Filter(s):     None used

How fast the years have slipped by. It seems just a flash pop ago that I was a shy teenager having fun with a camera. I can still recall many adventures, places, and people that would not be part of my life if it were not for photography. Then came college, work, family, and more college. Of course, these were, and still are very important, but somehow my photo life became just a latent image.

That changed a few years ago when my dad died and I inherited his old twin lens Rolleiflex. I think he bought the camera the year I was born (1954), probably to take embarrassing snapshots of me. The camera has an unpretentious, no nonsense but self-important appearance. Itís obviously from a different time, independent of the new electronic world. An inspection of the Rollei reveals that it provides quality basics, but it wonít make decisions for you. The twin lenses seem to look back at you, waiting to see how you will assemble the image.

It would make a good story to say that I got this photo of a Florida hardwood hammock my first time out with the Rollei. But the truth is that I had forgotten how to see, walk, and talk photography. I needed to learn how light/dark and line/shape build images. I had to step through exposure basics, acknowledge tripod legs as an integral part of the camera, and march to the ring of darkroom timers.

But, the most exciting and challenging discovery for me as I re-discovered photography, was that photography is not a photon experience; itís a neuron experience. Light and photochemistry are merely the universal language the photographer uses to share thoughts with the rest of mankind. I didnít realize this as a teenager, I barely grasp it now, and Iíll forever be learning to communicate with the light language we call photography.


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