Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
Photography is my window to the external world and is my source for internal joy and satisfaction. It essentially gives me a license to explore, investigate and learn more about the world around me.
There are so many levels to photography. Each one of those levels being a creative act to some degree – even snapshot photography in my opinion, however point and shoot pictures are for the most part more concerned with externals than expressive and emotional content.
The camera is an amazing tool for self expression. It enables the photographer to translate (compose) a given subject in a variety of ways based on how he/she SEES and FEELS about that given scene / subject. This to me is the beauty of photography. We all see and feel about the world in different ways. My emotional and intellectual response to a majestic Irish landscape or a young homeless boy in El Salvador may be very different from a fellow photographer or someone who lives in Ireland or El Salvador.
The way I frame the subject, compose and translate that scene is based on a combination of variables – some technical and some more conceptual and/or emotional. The first step in making photographs that go above and beyond what I call “snap shot mode” is to develop a heightened awareness about your subject matter and the WHY behind your desire to make the picture. There is also the technical aspect of photography. You have to know how to use the tool if you are going to make great, expressive visually dynamic pictures. But there is even more to it than that. There is the LIGHT! The photographer must become a student of light. Light is the photographers palette. It defines the textures, shapes, values and colors in a given subject in addition to enhancing the mood and emotional content in the picture.
For example…the light was so incredibly delicate and subtle yesterday early evening. I noticed how it gently illuminated my red shed in my back yard. It also came through my picture window and activated the leg and table cloth on my kitchen table. I immediately pulled out my camera and composed a few shots of each subject.
Light can take any subject no matter how commonplace and mundane and give it renewed visual appeal. Its just a matter of training your eye to continually be aware of light and what it is doing to the potential subjects for pictures that we encounter each and every day. The more I take photographs the more I realize I do it more for me than anyone else. There is something personally satisfying in the act of SEEING and making a photograph. I do it because it gives me pleasure and then hopefully it is of interest to people who may see it and possibly give them a glimpse into what I saw and felt at that moment in time.