Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

Photography – My Window to the World

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.

Sunset, Southwestern Ireland 2010

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.


7 comments on “Photography – My Window to the World

  1. Shannon
    May 11, 2011

    I recently sold most of my digital camera equipment and I feel completely naked without it. I miss going out on a spur of the moment adventure and exploring and looking for that perfect shot. I agree with you on doing this for you and no one else, I’m at that point now myself. With my new career starting and having already spent my first paycheck in my head, I’m already surfing the web for new equipment and cant wait to get back out there. Great shots…. I expect nothing less. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂

  2. keoughp
    May 12, 2011

    I know you are excited about your new career path Shannon! Too bad you had to sell all your camera equipment. The good part is you can get some new and upgraded gear now that you have a good paying steady job. Good luck to you! I expect to see more great photographs on your blog.

  3. carolinabeachkiter
    May 12, 2011

    Making photographs according to how a scene makes you feel is wonderful but also frustrating. Most times others viewing the photographs do not catch the nuances and feelings that you, as photographer, do. It makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong that I can’t draw out the same emotions in others. And causes lots of self-doubt.

  4. keoughp
    May 12, 2011

    I’m not sure that you’re necessarily doing anything wrong as far as viewers of your images not catching the nuances and feelings that you are hoping to convey in your photographs. Its a two way street. Viewers bring there own backgrounds, baggage and experiences to the photographs and art work they look at and sometimes may have a very different emotional response to your pictures that you may have thought. I don’t think this is a bad thing nor should it cause any self doubt in your quest to make unique and visually interesting and expressive pictures. Remember…you are a photographer and see things differently and possibly more intimately than someone with no background or understanding of the medium beyond what I would call a “snap shot” sensibility. This should NOT stop you from honing your photographic skills both technically and conceptually.

  5. indyink
    May 15, 2011

    Your shot of the tablecloth and table leg isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen. Sublime. Thanks for sharing!

  6. keoughp
    May 15, 2011

    Thanks indy! I was coming in the house from mowing my yard and I noticed the later afternoon light coming in through my kitchen window and striking the corner of the table leg and cloth. I grabbed my camera and got off a couple of shots before the light changed and the effect was gone. I enjoyed checking out your blog as well! Come by and visit again!

  7. Liam McCool
    August 18, 2012

    Free outside lighting is always cool and of the clouds especially true.

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2011 by in ArT, Keough Journal, Photography and tagged .
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