Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 20, 2014

In this digital connected world we live in it is very hard to let go of the constant verbal and visual noise surrounding us.  We need to diligently force our eyes to pay attention to what is important to us.  We must fight the inclination to take short cuts through image creation and proceed to the end game before we are ready to be truly present and aware of our surroundings and thus aware of potential subjects just waiting to be photographed.

We must be present in the fleeting now and see our potential subject with a clear relaxed vision. Uncovering details in the scene hidden to our quick glance but visible if we would only take the time to purposely see. 

Do you go out to take photos thinking only of capturing a subject, any subject, as you would chase an elusive jack rabbit.  You hunt your prey and victory is not in the process of discovering your true subject but victory is a quick shutter speed and a glance behind as you move on to the next jack rabbit to capture.

You have to force yourself to take the time to examine a scene, looking at the many details that interest you but also, being open to rejecting some details and accepting others as you build your composition.  As you concentrate more on the visual clues appearing along a new perceptual path, some elements are discarded and others hold more authority in expressing your inner landscape.  You begin to see visually a potential image. And as the gestalt forms through conceptual trial and error your new composition begins to take shape and a cohesive structure appears and like magic your image is born.

Would you have been able to make this image if you listened to your ego telling you to hurry up, hurry up, move onto something else?

Fear can motivate you or cripple your interest in learning how to make better images.   One of the things for me that made a difference was my love of seeing my images on a light table after a shoot.  I enjoyed laying out the slides side by side and using a loupe to examine each frame one at a time.  By doing this slow methodical process I was able to see my mistakes.  I was able to reflect on where I needed improvement in my image creations and where I failed to really see the potential in my subject.  Countless times (even today) I still see where I can improve my image making and I work hard at paying attention to the subject wanting to be seen.  If you just shoot to shoot where is the passion in your work.  Where is the visual growth.  You have to review your work after each shoot.  Taking notes on your subject, time of day, f/stops, shutter speeds, ISO, and angles etc… By doing this you gain valuable knowledge of your image making style.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6, 2014

In Freeman Patterson's Book, Photography & the art of seeing, he says, "In photography, observing is the first and most important skill we have to learn.  Learning to observe requires us to set time aside to "see" familiar things.  But, even if we take the time, we may find it difficult to observe carefully because we are tense and preoccupied with other things".

In today's rush hour mentality it is difficult to relax and really see a subject without wanting to hurry up and get the picture taking duty over with so we can move onto the next item on our to do list. This list becomes our safety blanket and a great excuse to why we don't have the time to relax and enjoy the world around us.

These external forces will always be there, always pulling us in so many different directions that we will never be able to truly see our vision and express our selves visually if we don't take a deep breath and still our stormy minds.

The barrier to living a full life, immersed in this world both physically and mentally, is technology.  It hinders interaction with the external world, a one on one experience, and thus limits our ability to see relationships that could enhance our image creating insights.

Do we even want to make a connection to the external world?   Do we even need the external world?

Technology deceives us into thinking we are interacting with the external world but in reality we are interacting with ourselves thinking we are interacting with others. This interface we communicate through is not a live experience.  It is a step removed from the feel and touch of existence.  It is like looking at a picture and thinking we have been there done that.

It is closed system of information only, with no real life experience outside your mind.  To walk in nature and not see nature is now the mantra of today's cell phone fantasies.  Experience now is through a hand held device and not through your whole being.  We have removed our first hand experience and filtered life through a technological device without any real connection to the physical world.

We must stop the illusions of living life through a mechanical device and get back to first hand experience with nature and this can only enhance your photographic eye and you will find that your image creations are more personal and expressive of your inner landscape.