Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Searching for More Than Pretty

I got into photography as a result of my love of the great outdoors.  I've always loved to hike and out new places.  I started taking images to help illustrate some of the trails I had grown to love. The idea I thought was to make them pretty.  I believed at that early stage pretty equated to better, so I strived for the "glamor shots" of trails and nature.  Flawless images which would somehow heighten the beauty of the places I loved and would cause others to fall in love with them as I had.  However, my limited skills and equipment didn't really allow for much in the way of a "glamor" edit.

As time went on and I was exposed to more and more images from people all over the world, I began to understand and appreciate other takes on what was beautiful.  I started to understand the beauty I was seeing was coming as much from the way others had captured their subject as the subject its self.  I began looking for images that expressed this active connection of photographer and subject....this dialogue of emotion that seemed almost audible at times.  As I looked back on my photographs I realized the void of emotion within them and how desperately they needed to express a part of me.

Now that I'm older, my times out hiking are more about getting away, than to something.  I have the camera to thank for that.  I find I'm taking my time more....observing more.....imagining more.  When I come across a scene like the one above, I understand more of why it causes me to pause.  For me it is not just a beautiful forest/meadow is this beautiful dance of strength  and softness....of darkness and light.  The beautiful purity of snow...the contrast of dying brown and living green.  The magical softness the light seems to bring to even the roughest bark.  And those are just the things I'm seeing.  When combined with the smells of pine and the sound of wind through the branches, my mind is a rush of memories...both real and imagined.  Times of fort building, hide and seek and a hundred other times of play for a boy growing up in the country.

This is the kind of beauty I have come to love in the images of others.  A beauty that testifies of emotions and experiences they themselves have experienced or can at least understand.  A beauty that is expressed beyond the subject matter and a passion emerges that is inescapable.

When I come across a scene like the one above....sure, I want the natural beauty of what is there to linger.  But I also long for others to catch a glimpse of the other beauty I know resides there.  Sometimes it sings...sometimes it's sadness....but it always speaks of life, of love, of sharing and of passing.  It may not always be pretty but it sure is least to me.