A sense of discovery…

This week I’ve done several things I’ve not done before.  I’ve made an effort to go out into the blogsphere and find photo related blogs.  I made my first photo series..well almost, missed posting on Wednesday although I had the image to post.  And I made a conscious decision to go out and spend one day, Wednesday, as a day of furthering my personal project under the working title of “waste” and as result came away with four images that came out.. bang bang bang bang… that showed the power of intent upon content.

In my “about” page I mention that I’m a self taught photographer.  I guess I should say, I’m an uneducated photographer as well.  I have, for reasons I cannot fathom, much less elucidate, an inherent adversion to some forms of knowledge.  Specifically those that take away a sense of discovery.

I don’t like maps for instance.  Travel sites, guides about what to see and do.  My adversion to asking directions may be misconstrued as a result of my “maleness” but its more from a very strong need to experience, for myself, first hand, the results of discovery.  In the late ’90’s I worked as a wilderness ranger, and found most satisfying my fellow rangers peculiarity of not adhering to a prescribed path when out in the wilderness.  Simply needing a start point and day followed by an end point and day, we’d wander for 10 days at a time throughout our territory.  The catalog of first hand experiences over the course of that summer still fills me with a profound sense of wonder.

I have a few books on photography.  Occasionally I’ll pull them out and look at them.  And I know they have altered the course of my self discover.  First, I usually find an example image in them that causes me to smile as a result of having, without the foreknowledge, that I found a similar expression with my camera. And second I’m sure they have imprinted on my mind, unknownst to me, a techinique I’ve employed subsequently.

The one most salient fact of perusing the blogsphere is that photography continues to express, as a medium, more about the photographer than the subject.  There is a direct correlation between the mental camera and the physical.  Contrived imagery seems to be the result of contrived thought.  The perfectionist’s images perfect in their presentation of zone, of composition.  The new school of uncomposed, highly saturated “snapshots” reflect the photographers need to avoid being “old school.” And so forth.

I’m spending some time now, thinking of the path forward.  Which is difficult for the non-planner.  I see the validity in having a core focus.  One concept that repetively comes up in advice to budding photographers seeking to go professional, is the concept of “shoot what you love.”  The second is that, in order to be considered accomplished, one should be able to present a set of images that reads like a story, cohesive across a theme.  Not necessarily a series, but often times a series.  But something that a least expresses a relationship between the set.

A very difficult concept for me, I’ll admit.  The path I’ve spent my life on has been the opposite.  I’ve worn out cars and boots seeking out new impressions.  Ironically, always without camera.  Now, with camera, I’ve taken that personal ethos into using the tool as a method of evoking that similar feeling; discovering the geometric abstract; the sunset expressed in a reflection; abstracting with color and without; double and multiple exposures; pushing the shadows to black.  Walking in and through light, watching it reflect and bounce.  Except for chasing West Coast sunsets for a season, I’ve let opportunity be the guiding principle.

I worry, perhaps unnecessarily, about what happens when I grow up photographically.  Take it into the realm of craftsmanship and focus myself; abstract myself out the collage of the past 4 years to be able to let the process feed me physically, out of that which has been a banquet spiritually.


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