Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28, 2015

When you begin your approach to a subject you want to photograph do you feel intimidated at first because you seem to be floundering for a visual design to magically appear and compose the scene perfectly for you.

If your looking outside yourself for something to compose the image then your not listening to your inner landscape, your unique perspective on the world.  Your time line is yours and yours alone and serendipity can sometimes create an obvious composition that stands out and begs to be created.  But most often the composition you choose needs to be worked up to and explored before you can link it up with your inner focused attention.

The downside of consumer generate images, the mass produced nonsense that floods the market on a daily basis, it creates an atmosphere that plainly states that image creation is easy and anyone can create a good image.  The problem with this approach is that yes anyone can create a decent image that looks and feels and looks like all the rest of the images uploaded to social media.

We might think we are above the herd instinct but we are still relatively new on this planet and we often, when taking images settle for the ordinary and frivolous instead of tapping into our inner visual design and express something we feel is a truth for us and just may have interest for others.  In order to see the details that make the subject intriguing you need to have a sensitivity to your individuality.  What interests you and how to create an image that reveals your inner sight.

The superficial image creation going on in today's photo stock market place inhibits the work that is needed in creating images of substance.  Are we that shallow to think that all we need to do is point and shoot and the snap shot taken now has significance beyond the mundane existence it came from?

What makes a good stock image.  I have given up trying to guess what a photo editor is looking for. As a matter of fact I really never allowed an editor to dictate to me how to create an image for stock photo purposes.  Good, thoughtful imagery will always be in demand.

With the over abundance of imagery being taken and the willingness of the herd mentality to give these photographs away for free, the main problem is not the creative images being made but the competing with the crowd sourced imagery that is given away for nothing.  If these images actually represented the authentic and natural organic flow of new unique expressions shouldn't they be worth their weight in gold.  But they are not unique they are trivial and dumbed down expressions of lives longing for exposure.  And they find their image exposure through businesses exploiting the availability of snap shots and feeding the masses with wonderful applause at their willingness to give their snap shots away, as if these copycat images had any true depth of the real human condition.

We hear pundits talking about these new trends of the real and authentic imagery.  Of course a business is going to praise the image taker and call these images authentic representations of their buying customers.  They are making money on the backs of image takers that don't see the value in their work.

But really all these images represent is an ego thrust outside itself, giving their snap shots away for the thrill of posted exposure on social media.  This is not real life, this is  strictly business. If you didn't have to pay for your hamburger wouldn't that be a heck of a lot better than forking over a few bucks.  Of course it would.  The mind is easily duped by praise and vanity.

The real problem today is can artists make enough income to generate a livelihood that is sustainable.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 20, 2015

Susan Sontag wrote in the seventies, "From its start, photography implied the capture of the largest possible number of subjects.  Painting never had so imperial a scope.  The subsequent industrialization of camera technology only carried out a promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experience by translating them into image."

Decades later we now have the digital revolution and with it the explosion of imagery on the Internet.

And this exposes the Pavlov's dog mentality of photography in today's waste land of fragmented realities.

Sontag wrote, "A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it-limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir.  Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientate that are likely to be exacerbated by travel. Most tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter.  Unsure of other responses, they take a picture."

We acquire products everyday.  Homes full of things that make our lives seem more weighted with memories and objects that represent where we have been and maybe where we want to go in the future.  These short-sighted products represent acquired memory, a wishful fulfillment of our desires and our dreams and gives our life a manifested purpose.

Our excess, our obsession with accumulating things is because we live in an age of anxiety (W.H. Auden) and are unable to live with our subjective consciousness, so we live through the external objects of attraction and possession.  We seem to never question why we are drawn to certain external stimulus over others.

Images are the hip thing to acquire and quickly become passé as we move constantly toward physical experience on a shallow level.

This superficiality gives us the illusion of stability in our lives but it is an illusion of the present becoming a past experience.  We can never be satisfied trying to stop times forward motion.

We are always trying to duplicate a past experience, hold onto it especially if it brought us pleasure.  In photography we repeat composition and exposure when we are satisfied that the snap shot taken represents our forced perception (prejudices) on the subject.

We want to posses things.  We want to define what something is and not have to think any further on the matter.  This drives the proliferation of imagery.  We are on constant capture mode, we don't have to think anymore concerning what we are interested in taking pics of because now everything is photogenic.  Everything is an expression of my outer facade.

We are a species that imitate behavior.  The images being created now represent our surface connection with our memories over our present moments in our own lives.  We seek memories over infinite choice.

How scary a new subject can be and also frustrating when you have to interact with your subject, exploring the many choices you need to make in order to create an image worthy of your time.  You will have to choose your composition, light, perspective and the most important question, why choose this subject over another.  What does this particular subject have that the others don't?

Sometimes you can't answer that question but you just know intuitively that there is an image present and with time and effort it will manifest itself to you.

Are we seeing the end to purposeful image creation, of course not but social media is making good images hard to find.

We herd easily, wanting to be driven along worn paths that end up getting us nowhere near where we want to be.  We constantly put barriers up between us and our environment.  We settle for a relationship with others through a hand held device, not of intimacy but propaganda.

We fear the world and its burgeoning technology and its complexity, so we look for the easy way to go and the camera now is a comforting action that allows us distance from the subject and gives us a "work to do mentality" to take pictures of and not interact with our subjects.  We are becoming reclusive, apart from living in the now and losing touch with our communities.

Stop the constant head down, looking at a small screen.  Look up into this world, interact with it on a personal level not through corporate media sites.

Each of us is unique and we will approach our subjects differently. A one size fits all never works in creating good imagery.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7, 2015

Summer is finally here!  I took this image of a friend kayaking on Lake Cassidy.  The morning light was great with Mount Pilchuck in the background and the misty fog filtering the sun.