The chase for good photographs Part II

September 01, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Living with a Photographer can be challenging.  We have our own pattern of thinking and decision making.  I appear to most people as relaxed and peaceful, yet my mind is full of ideas, images, and imaginings. I'm fairly confident that I'm sleep deprived.  This, a side effect of spending years looking through a viewfinder of a camera.  I wonder about the next shot, the next shooting session, and the next surprise location.  Sometimes I wonder why I make the photographs that I choose to place in the camera frame.  I also am curious about my favorite style of music, Miles Davis ballads, my preferred choice of subject matter, old abandoned buildings, and my choice of Monochrome (black and white) photographic medium. 

There are subjects that demand to be photographed.  I react strongly and quickly to these and the gears start turning, my training takes over.  The skills that I've learned over the years begin to work on a composition.  I don't know or understand why I have such a strong reaction to a particular subject.  I may never know the answer to this, but I'm going to make this shot happen anyway.  Later in post processing another set of skills and tools are in play.  The goal is to remember my initial reaction and work to get that into the photograph.  I am very pleased when people react to and like my work.  Its an additional reward.  That being said, the initial motivation for producing the photograph was not for the reaction of other viewers.  This is personal work.  I am going to follow that inner voice, that keeps me on my path even though I do not fully understand the unconscious motivation behind it.  Its a lot like a canoe journey in a river of quiet water.  The journey is the destination.  There will be time enough for assignments.  I enjoy making photographs that bring to realization a much wanted and needed photograph.  There are times when I'll be asked to restore a damaged photograph, or compose a portrait.  I enjoy these processes also.  Within this blog post my primary concern is the motivation and direction of my personal work.  Some of the time it feels as though I am  observing myself at the same time that I am using my camera.  The common term for this is "being in the zone".  It really does feel as if time has slowed down.  It is a brief escape from reality, into a moment where nothing but my camera and the subject occupy my consciousness.  It is a Zen moment that I strive to achieve as often as possible. 

We humans get accustomed to our environment and tend to concentrate on the needs of the moment.  This is all to common, and necessary in order to survive these days.  However I am sure you all have times when you want to stop being on autopilot and just breath some fresh air.  Just a few moments to stop all the demands and "should do" intrusions into your time.  Even when I do not have my camera with me I am compelled to look around and compose photographs.  This raises my awareness to the light, patterns, textures, tone, and drama all around me that often becomes just background to our lives.  We live in a reduced state of consciousness, while around us the drama of life plays out.  We are surrounded by thousands of photographs that never get made.  Mostly small moments that can easily be passed over just because we need to keep going.  Seemingly insignificant objects can become magical in dramatic light or when their shape and texture are revealed.  As a photographer my path is to frame these moments, get them out of my viewfinder, and communicate to my viewers, "here look at this". You get to view and contemplate a small percentage of what travels through my viewfinder and post processing.  Someone once said that "all photographs are a self portrait of the artist".  In this respect you get to see through my lens.  The lens of my mind as well as my camera.  Yes, some photographs demand to be made.  If I am fortunate, some of you will connect to my images.  It is my hope that you will love them because I have to make them anyway. 


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