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His equipment can seem old and heavy. But each
is a masterful work of craftsmanship, sometimes
without even the need for a battery, only a fore-
finger and a thumb to turn the watch-like gears
and advance the film to the next frame. “I feel
like the more sophisticated the tool becomes, the
less involvement it requires of the user,” he says.
“I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing. [Film]
forces me to be a better technician, because my
tools are very rudimentary.”
Even with a camera that uses film, the lens can
feel like a barrier, and Raynor says it’s taken him
a long time to travel for the sake of photography
and still experience the place that makes truly
intimate photographs possible. “When you pho-
tograph a lot, you can go and miss that connec-
tion, that interaction with a subject,” he says.
“It’s taken me a long time to know when to put
the camera down.”
Although he admits to missing his share of shots
and making a bad exposure here and there, the
film keeps Raynor grounded in his art. The time
it takes to click the shutter forces him to slow
down and make better shots. “For my photo-
graphic journey, film works for me. I have to be
more present in the moment and that pushes me
to be a better photographer, because the conse-
quences of not having everything the way you
want it could be a missed opportunity that you
won’t get again.”
When he travels to shoot, Raynor can spend
a week or more at a single location to wait for
the right light. In that time, he gets to know a
place and its moods, finding angles for his pho-
tographs that can be almost too subtle to rec-
ognize as being deliberate. But those lines draw
us in, attract us like a certain kind of symmetry.
“Some of my pictures will take me years to get,”
Raynor says. “Just going to the same location
multiple times, waiting for the right light.” Once
the shutter clicks and the film is sent away to be
developed, it can be two weeks or more before
he sees the pictures he’d taken.
“It slows me down,” Raynor says. “This is such
a rapid-fire time. Film forces us to be a little
more patient. I’ve been doing this seriously for
15 years and I’m just starting to grasp photogra-
phy as an art. It’s just more and more enlighten-
ing all the time. It’s being in the moment and
being present, almost meditative,” he says. “And
then, when it all comes together, there’s a real
feeling of gratitude.”
You can see more of Raynor’s work or learn
about his photography tours at the Ingham Fine
Art Gallery at 403 3rd Street in Crested Butte,
or on his website,