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Considering the Subject in a Different Way (7 Photos)

  • A print from my Kyudo story fixes in the Valley News darkroom. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    A print from my Kyudo story fixes in the Valley News darkroom. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Carrie Bergman of Northampton, Mass., puts on her four-fingered glove for the first time during the Kyudo program at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Carrie Bergman of Northampton, Mass., puts on her four-fingered glove for the first time during the Kyudo program at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Instructor Tom Kyle of Barre, right, demonstrates proper form to a group of first shot participants during a Kyudo gathering at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Instructor Tom Kyle of Barre, right, demonstrates proper form to a group of first shot participants during a Kyudo gathering at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kyudo instructor Lucy Halverson, of San Francisco, helps Alicia Socia, 9, of Albany, Vt., with her grip as she learns the Japanese practice of archery at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Kyudo instructor Lucy Halverson, of San Francisco, helps Alicia Socia, 9, of Albany, Vt., with her grip as she learns the Japanese practice of archery at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kyudo archers nock their arrows during a weekend dedicated to the meditative practice at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Kyudo archers nock their arrows during a weekend dedicated to the meditative practice at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mike Usman of Pittsburgh, left, and Aaron DeLong, of Barnet, Vt., leave the target area after retrieving arrows which landed on the roof during Kydo Practice at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Mike Usman of Pittsburgh, left, and Aaron DeLong, of Barnet, Vt., leave the target area after retrieving arrows which landed on the roof during Kydo Practice at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ray Chin demonstrates proper form to a group learning Kyudo, the martial art of archery, at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Ray Chin demonstrates proper form to a group learning Kyudo, the martial art of archery, at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • A print from my Kyudo story fixes in the Valley News darkroom. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Carrie Bergman of Northampton, Mass., puts on her four-fingered glove for the first time during the Kyudo program at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Instructor Tom Kyle of Barre, right, demonstrates proper form to a group of first shot participants during a Kyudo gathering at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Kyudo instructor Lucy Halverson, of San Francisco, helps Alicia Socia, 9, of Albany, Vt., with her grip as she learns the Japanese practice of archery at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Kyudo archers nock their arrows during a weekend dedicated to the meditative practice at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Mike Usman of Pittsburgh, left, and Aaron DeLong, of Barnet, Vt., leave the target area after retrieving arrows which landed on the roof during Kydo Practice at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Ray Chin demonstrates proper form to a group learning Kyudo, the martial art of archery, at Karme Choling in Barnet, Vt., on June 21, 2014. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

I was recently given a Crown Graphic camera by my father-in-law, who worked as a photographer for the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal in the 1960s. The camera is large and unwieldy by today’s standards and uses 4-by-5-inch negative sheets. To make one photograph is a process with numerous steps, and if just one is skipped or executed in the wrong order it could mean a missed moment, or worse, a ruined negative. The process forces a photographer to slow down and consider the subject in different way.

Photographing Kyudo, the Japanese martial art of archery, seemed a perfect opportunity to use the Crown Graphic. Not only is it a meditative practice with several prescribed steps in the process of shooting the arrow, it can take an eight-hour day full of frustration for a beginner to get to the point of firing their first shot. Real profiency comes with months or years of practice.

With the Crown Graphic, I am a novice. I shot roughly 24 frames in my eight hours at the Karme Choling Kyudo event. Unable to embrace the possibility of failure, I also used my everyday Nikon camera. I’m happy to say, despite many mistakes, that my film images were able to stand on their own. I’m also happy to share some of those color images here.

Posted to the Valley Visual blog Monday at 2:30 p.m. Follow the Valley News on Twitter @VNewsUV.

Related

Archery as Meditation: In Barnet, Vt., Martial Arts Enthusiasts Learn Kyudo, ‘The Way of the Bow’

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Barnet, Vt. The archers stand tall and alert in the sunshine, arms at their sides, each holding a slender bamboo bow in one hand, an arrow in the other. One at a time, they slowly make their way through a series of movements before ending much as they began, gloved hands at their sides, the tips of the bows lowered …