Friday, September 23, 2011

What are you looking for?

Before I begin...let me just say a word of thanks to Mehreen  from "the perfect line" blog,  for her note of encouragement and prodding to get busy and write.  When I started this blog about a year ago, it was at the prompting of other photographers that if I wanted to move forward in "the business", it was something I needed / was expected to do.  Truly, it was not because I felt I had so much to say I needed to create a platform to get the information out there.  Frankly, figuring out what to write is and has been one of the biggest problems.  When I do come up with a topic, something in the back of my mind convinces me...."no one is going to be interested in this"...or..."people already know how to do that..." and so I end up not writing anything.  

Well, thank you Mehreen for your encouragement.  I appreciated hearing what you had to say.

Do you know what you are looking for?....a question I have asked myself numerous times when either out shooting or while working on my post processing work. What is it I'm trying to get across with an image....what kind of image am I looking for....why?

When I first started out in photography, completely by accident by the way, I got involved in one of the online groups like "Flickr".  I was astounded by the extraordinary talent I found there.  I had never seen such creativity in photographs before.   I longed for my images to gain even a portion of the impact I felt so many other photographers seemed to capture so effortlessly.  (strange how it always appears to be effortless when you are not involved in the process...)

The other thing I noticed was how focused many photographers seemed to be regarding subject matter.  They were brilliant at what they did, but the images were all the same....people, landscapes, sunrises, flowers...whatever....beautiful, but the same.  I tried for a while to stay focused on one subject matter, but no matter how I tried, I just couldn't.  If I tried to focus on the wide open landscape, I ended up feeling pulled toward the close up....

After a half dozen close ups, I would begin thinking, "I don't have any shots of architecture or structures" off I would go looking for the next building or windmill to capture...

Structure shots might lead to people shots, then back to landscapes  then off to macros and so forth and so forth....always finding myself challenged to rethink how I was looking at my framing of the shot or the angle or direction of the sun or light source.

Beyond subject matter, I have found myself exploring a variety of directions regarding my post processing work.  I would become fascinated by others ability with black and white images.....or their ability to create this feeling of intensity to an image....turning what was a relatively simple image into one that evoked an emotional level I could hardly believe.

Other times I've been mesmerized at the hyper-real look brought on by a well done HDR.  I love the intensity of detail that seem to explode off of the page and worked to harness the skills needed to do something similar.

I'm never tired of the beauty that can be drawn out of familiar shapes masked in a cloak of haze or fog.  I've marveled at images that seemed to be so permeated with a dreamlike quality it seemed impossible to have captured them with a mere camera.

As I jumped from one subject to the next, or one type of post work to the next...I would think..."I'm all over the place.  Surely no one else has this much trouble figuring out their sense of style or voice."   It wasn't until one week some time back I finally realized I didn't need to "figure out" my style or voice as a photographer....I already had one.  That one week I received a half dozen or more comments for different contacts I've made around the world all saying a similar thing...."I would recognize your work anywhere"...."you and your famous tones"....."I love your keen eye for a scene".....

I stopped looking at the latest image I was working on and stepped back to look at the whole of my body of work.  What was it about what I was creating that others had noticed and I had failed to realize?  What I found was a part of me.  My emotion, my perspective,....that bit of romantic and sometimes somberness I embody.  A somewhat melancholy nostalgic take on the world that captures my attention.

I found that as I journeyed to discover the ways other photographers expressed themselves, I found the way I wanted to express myself.   The images I've shared here are all my own.  Taken of things and places that mean something to me.  Expressed in a way that....well, means something to me.  Hopefully others find themselves able to relate to what they see....connect with my images in a way.  And, apparently, some have.

What was I looking for? voice of expression.  What I found was that and a lot more.