The unfolding world.

I’ve been thinking (debating with myself) about; if photographing has lost some of the personal connection between the photograph, photographer and viewer, with so many photographs flying around the internet these days (and yes I do feel like the pot is calling the kettle black a bit). I find myself becoming more interested in making photographing a bit more personal. How to do that, well that’s the next question?

Maybe it’s a case of posting less images, but providing more detail about how the image came to life. To tell the truth, I’m not sure, however I do know that I’m becoming more attracted to photos that aren’t simply great or nice because of the capture and that the best and most beautiful images in the world carry with them something that is more than what can be seen – something from the heart or something with a bit of soul.

On Friday evening I found myself with a sense of wanting to watch the world pass bye for a bit and see what unfolded in front of me. Heading for the beach I explored a few sand-dunes, watched the waves crash in and out, listened to the birds as they swooped and dived while the seaweed caked the rock pools. The only intent I had was to take an image, IF one opened up in front of me, instead of looking for what I was going to take. After a while, I found a spot as the sun escaped and almost seemed to say “pleasant dreams, I hope you had a good week.” Before long I found the camera and filters were out.

“While in your pleasant dreams”

“While in your pleasant dreams”

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Falling In love with the printed image, all over again.

I recently read a blog (Jeremy Nicholl, 2011) that was talking about the separation between the photographic worlds here on earth and the one in cyberspace. It has long been an interesting observation of mine that the more involved in the digital photographic world I become; the less I see my own work or others actually printed. Having recently had two pieces of work printed out in large format, it was almost like seeing the image again for the first time. I was amazed having viewed both images many times before, how powerful it was seeing them printed out in front of me. Wham, something strikes you like a bolt from the blue with the printed image that the digital screen just can’t do.

Eternity's Evening

Eternity’s Evening

While photography has never been more accessible to people than it is right now, we are also in danger of suffering from digital overload. On recent visits to sites like Google+, 500 px and Facebook it stuck me how so many photos and images never really seem to have a home. In cyberspace, it’s becoming more and more possible these days for an image to never truly have a home, just a download point. While some might argue that an account setting can be classified as a home or a source, and maybe in the modern digital age that we now live in accounts are just that, a home or a source, but do they really provide the emotional connection that can be obtained with a printed image?

These two photographic worlds (Earth and Cyberspace) are becoming more and more unaware of the other, and it is in fact possible in these contemporary times to be regarded as a highly influence artist, without ever needing to produce a work of art off the computer screen.  To my eyes, with the advent of the Google+, Facebook, Instagram or 500px photographer, there has almost reached a saturation point where thousands of photos are up load every day.  In fact, in October 2011 Google+ revealed that 40 million or so users uploaded 3.4 billion photographs in 100 days or on Flickr, the daily average of photo uploading in 2012 was 1.42 million per day. With that many photos from that many photographers, how can someone possible find an image that creates an emotional connection? Or, is what was once WOW, the new norm?

The digital platforms of Flickr, Facebook, Google+, Instagram or 500px are a fantastic place for a photographer to showcase their work and build a following; however I can’t help but think maybe we need to fall in love with the printed image once again. After all, there’s an emotional pull that happens when an image has the power to make you physically stop and linger. Maybe it’s time to not only fall in love with the printed image again, but also time to make photography unique, personal and emotional ….. once again.

The internal debate between means and ends.

What is more important, the means or the end?

I’ve been wondering what matters most: The end result of what we’re working towards or the means by which we get there.

In terms of photography, this question often drifts into my mind as I’m processing images. I often question how much processing is too much. Is there a point where as a photographer, I can become too reliant on raw, Lightroom and Photoshop to produce the end result. It’s often an endless debate with myself that has no conclusion. I came across this quote from Abraham Lincoln which sparked my thinking but it also brought a line of truth that really struck a chord with me;
‘If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.’

Thinking about means and ends brought me to honesty some reason, at a deeper level they seem interconnected. Honesty meaning; displaying integrity and being truthful. I’ve found that being honest with myself is the best technique and method I can use to achieve the desired balance between means and ends. Only we know what we believe and whether or not we’re honouring it and how truthful we are being to ourselves. Thomas Jefferson once put it as honesty being the first chapter in the book of wisdom. When I’m out shooting a scene the first thing I look for is how I want the end result to look and the second is how I achieve that.

The speed and pace that we seem to live in these days is just getting faster and faster. Decisions need to be made quickly and they all appear to be important in some way, shape or form. While I was out looking a for composition recently it dawned on me that I was searching for something, rather than taking in what was in front of me. Honesty, wisdom, means and ends all seemed to be forgotten in the desire to get a task done. What I need to be able to do was switch my brain off, to slow it down, completely change my mind-set or adjust my state of mind.

A mind-set is a powerful thing. It can encourage us, influence us, persuade us and even stop us from doing things. It can have a big impact on the decisions we make and how we make them. So the question is, what is the best way to achieve a change in mind-set (or slow brain time) so I don’t miss those exciting compositions that a photographer can wait days to capture.

While wandering up a creek at Bathunes Gully, I managed to change my mind-set and switch to slow brain thinking. All of a sudden a more meaningful composition formed in-front of me. It became more about seeing creative beauty than following structured rules of composition. I can honestly say the resulting photography was created from a focus of means rather than ends. 

Especially when the November wind

Cosmetic Surgery

Every idea needs some cosmetic surgery and every idea has a beginning, a starting point, a birth if you will. While some ideas gain life quickly, they can also drop-away just as fast while other ideas gather momentum. Then there are the other set of ideas, the kind that gain life but need to go through several redrafts before it finds it’s true direction. Thoughts and ideas tend to stumble along until they find their balance, rhythm and timing.

My blog site until, now has been one of those ideas that has ticked away in the back of my mind, slowly stumbling along until it found it’s own balance. While the equilibrium still isn’t quite right, it’s almost there. It’s undergone some cosmetic surgery recently and there is still and few minor changes to happen (mainly with menu’s and categories) but I’m really pleased with the ‘new look’. It just ‘feels’ a lot more how I want it to feel.

I’ll have some new content in a short while, so I’ll see you again really soon.

Happy days.