Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
Long Island that is.
I’ve had few enjoyable and productive photo excursions while visiting family here on Eastern Long Island this past week. My brother Terry took me out for 2 long scenic hikes around Long and Short Beaches in Smithtown and then my old friend and fellow photographer “extraordinaire” Jim Dunn guided me around the 300 acre Heckscher State Park for a glorious morning of shooting landscapes and nature scenes.There is something very meditative and therapeutic about exploring a scenic location with camera in hand. The biggest challenge for me as a photographer is finding and then composing subjects that go beyond the pretty picture – snap shot mode.
The great Minor White was a master at creating conceptually expressive photographic metaphors for a variety of feelings and emotions. This is extremely difficult to accomplish and I may shoot 100 photographs and only capture 1 or 2 that rise up beyond a pretty / well composed snap shot.
Making unique and visually compelling photographs is a very “in the moment” exercise. It’s one of the few activities that force me to be completely aware of my environment and in doing so, my inner self as well.
I find the act of making pictures more fulfilling than looking at my pictures after taking them. The creative act itself is where I find the true joy in the creative process.
There are many levels to fine art photography. There is the technical level and then the conceptual / intellectual and emotional levels. When you as an image maker are aware and in tune with all these levels then you can capture photographs that have the potential of eliciting an emotional response from the viewer of your pictures.
I make a concerted effort to be aware and receptive to the interrelationship between the visual elements of design as I scan my environment for potential photographic subjects. What are the lines doing within my frame? How can I enhance the textures in my subject? Are the colors vibrant or muted? Do the colors and value relationships add to the expressive quality of the image? This is all done intuitively and I may add very quickly based on my personal vision as a photographer.
This process brings me into the moment and I feel are key ingredients to making photographs that are a step above the snap-shot / post card variety.
My visit here on Long Island is quickly coming to an end. The cliché is so very true that you can’t go back home after being gone for a long period of time. Nothing is the same, however being able to go out and photograph in a region you have a personal history with is both a joy and a challenge.
Here are a few more favorites from my photographic sojourns. Click on the first image to view a slide show.