Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
Photographers are Story Tellers.
We not only make photographs…we tell stories with our pictures. Great photographers don’t take snapshots UNLESS they want to.
Serious photographers make thoughtful, visually engaging photographs that tell the viewer a little bit about the subject and offers some deeper insight and understanding into the subject being photographed.
A portrait can tell a story. The smile, frown, eyes, gestures and attitude all shed some light into the person being photographed. It can be a sad story – happy – tragic and/or intensely emotional.
I believe the photographers job is to try to break through the facade and tap into the true character and inner personality of those people he/she captures in a photograph. This is not an easy thing to do because most people put up a front when a camera is pointed at them. Gaining an immediate rapport with the people you want to photograph is the biggest challenge to any photographer.
I happen to love travel photography. I’ll admit I make more photographs while traveling than at any other time. A landscape or a street scene can also give us a glimpse into how people live in other countries. We tell our stories with light, unique angles, effective framing and above all else capturing those “decisive moments” that are happening all around us as we meander about with cameras in hand in search of those perfect pictures.
Great photographs communicate on multiple levels. Visually interesting and unique photographs have visual impact and connect with viewers on an intellectual and/or emotional level. That is another challenge for photographers. I also believe it’s important to have empathy and be sensitive to those people we photograph during out travels.
Again…this takes rapport with our subjects and a heightened awareness of their particular situations in life, which in many cases are very different than our own. I grow as a human being as I travel to different countries with camera in hand. I learn more from my travels and the people I meet than I ever did sitting in a classroom. Travel is an education in itself and informs me more than any book, lecture or course I ever took in college.
I’ve had good fortune to be visiting my son Adam and my daughter -in-law Tery the past week here in El Salvador. My son has lived here for the past 8 years and I’ve had the opportunity to visit this wonderful country on many occasion over that time. During this visit I’ve been doing Photo Walks with some local photographers in a wonderful little town called Panchimalco in addition to giving an evening critique session with a local photo club.
I was honored to be invited to give a talk about art and photography at the art school called Casa Taller Encuentros Panchimalco, in addition to photographing with the young students in and around the town.
I had 2 amazing days teaching a photo workshop at Casa Taller Encuentros with the help of some great El Salvadoran photographers. I even gave the presentation in Spanish. Wheew! Thanks to Stefan Rivera, Orlando Flores, Miguel Angel Servellon Guerrero and Tery Lara Keough for assisting me! I feel so blessed to be able to share my passion for art and photography with the art students at Casa Taller Encuentros.
Here are a few more photos from yesterdays photo excursion. My goal as a photographer is to make photos that tell a little story. I don’t always succeed, but it’s always in the back of my mind as I put the camera to my eye and previsualize my final picture.