What kind of photographer…

are you?

the day the music died
“the day the music died”

Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.

Robert Frank

This was not what I thought I would write about this week but after photographing this, I could not get it out of my thoughts. I started thinking about why we photograph the things that we do and what does that say about us as photographers?

This was not one of those times of beautiful light. It was late afternoon and I had gone down to the lake hoping that the sun might win its battle with the heavy fog and break through with a mystical, atmospheric sunset. I made my way along the breakwater occasionally seeing dim figures come into view and hearing voices that would carry across the water. Taking a moment to stand in one place and to look all around me, my eyes were drawn to something down in the water that did not belong. It was not an easy feat scrambling down the sharp rocks in my Boggs but I had to have a closer look.

Having spent a lot of time on the water I have seen my fair share of litter and discarded items but never before a keyboard. I carefully waded out into the icy lake so that I would be able to photograph this in relation to its watery grave.

I don’t suppose that I will ever know the story behind the rather bleak demise of the keyboard but it did get me thinking about the various genres of photography and why we are drawn to the things that we are. As I sat and contemplated, the lyrics of Don Mclean’s American Pie running through my head, I realized just how much my photography has changed in the past few years. What began more as documentation that called for clarity, focus, and accuracy of the scene, had somehow began to morph into more of a visual storytelling where everything did not need to be stated.

In The Americans, published in 1959Robert Frank captured the gulf between the American dream and everyday reality, a visual story as timely today as it was then. Critics of his work described his images in less than complimentary terms using words like “meaningless blur, muddy exposures, and drunken horizons”. He deviated from accepted photographic techniques and in doing so managed to capture so much more.

In a world inundated with photography, where everyone who carries a phone has the capability of taking a photograph, how do you see yourself? What kind of photographer are you?

 

4 thoughts on “What kind of photographer…”

  1. What an extraordinary and evocative image, the keys of the keyboard perfectly imitating the background quays! A strange sight and one that only black and white could do justice to.

  2. That is indeed a haunting image! The story behind a picture, be it known, or just implied, is everything; and I am coming to be more aware of that in my own creative expression. That said, I am still a ‘point and shoot’ photographer, set on documenting, rather than expressing. Someday….
    Thank you for the thought-provoking blog post.

  3. What a find! You brought to it the exact composition and mood it begged for, and then threw on the perfect title. Abundant skills…

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