Is it art…

just because we say it’s so?

DSC_1027-Edit-EditBefore the people at large, and for that matter, the artists themselves, understand what photography really means, as I understand that term, it is essential for them to be taught the real meaning of art.

Alfred Stieglitz

Had some interesting conversations lately about art; what it is and what it is not.

Is it the piece of dryer lint tied with thread and given space at a gallery? Or perhaps it’s the old sheet hung on the wall with a word written on it? Is it assembly line production of paper and glue?

Is it art because it matches your sofa cushions? Is it art because you cut an old RV in half and applied social commentary to it? Does the quality of the material used elevate the work?

The very definition of art, the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination would lead me to believe that there are more components involved than the simple desire to be called an artist.

Recent art exhibits seemed to be accompanied by lengthy bios on the artist and the creative process that resulted in some of the exhibits mentioned above leading me to wonder is it art if it has to be explained to you in advance of the viewing?

For me whatever I’m looking at, my own work or that of others, first and foremost it has to evoke some sort of emotion and secondly the creation of the piece has to have some component of skill and intention involved.

Art or craft…always a hot topic. I’m grateful for artists like Stieglitz who paved the way for photography as an art form.

There was a man with great passion, talent, and intention and I would have loved to shadow him for just one day as he worked.

Who moves you? What motivates you to create and not just replicate?

Not just a photograph…

but a memory.

DSC_0879-EditPhotography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation, and execution.

Ansel Adams

Winter landscapes are for me some of the most beautiful to capture.

Like a blueprint of time they contain a wealth of information; information that remains until the next wind blows and covers the tracks, or snow continues to fall burying that day’s history.

I knew immediately when I saw this image that I would render it in black and white.

Ansel Adams used a red filter to darken the sky in one of his photographs of the monolith in Yosemite. He already had in his mind the final image, not as he saw it but how he visualized it being.

Photography is a medium that allows for an immense amount of growth and how we choose to interpret that which lies on the other side of our lens is an intensely personal process.

Knowing this, accepting this, and staying true to this is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph.

A photograph is not only the image that it portrays but the memory that it holds.

When I look at this I am reminded of a very gentle man, a farmer, who several years ago during a challenging time showed me the true depth of his spirit and I hope that when he sees this he will recognize himself in the description and know that he made a difference.

Nature’s magnificence…

and coming back.

DSC_0446-Edit-2-Edit-3I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of the place could be photographed.

Annie Leibovitz

This week has been a reminder of and an eye-opener to the scars that we bear.

This stand of trees still soars majestically skyward but bore not the brightly colored leaves of autumn, only blackened trunks and open wounds from the Kenow fire that swept through last year.

I find myself listening more and looking beyond the outer shells.

I find myself more willing to speak openly and wonder if that energy is being felt.

I find myself coming back.

Working on …

a comeback.

DSC_5401-Edit-Edit-2The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.

Vince Lombardi

On a personal note… I am so proud of this man.

Portraits are not my first love but when there is an amazing story attached, one that inspires and gives you faith in the human spirit, it’s a treat to be behind the lens!

Don’t pass up an opportunity to photograph anything that you connect with even if it’s outside your comfort zone.

Hand eye…

co-ordination.

DSC_5451-Edit-EditPhotography is like a moment, an instant. You need a half second to get the photo. So it’s good to capture people when they are themselves.

Patrick Demarchelier

I’ve had some interesting thoughts on photography lately and not just about subject matter but how everything pulls together to capture that image.

I’ve had some opportunities lately to photograph some more environmentally themed portraits. People photography is not something that I usually gravitate towards but capturing people engaged in something that brings the light from with-in outwards has been extremely satisfying for me.

I find myself enjoying crafting how I want that image to come out and at the same time getting some exposure to new things like the speed bag.

I don’t want to be one of those photographers who can’t carry their own gear and can only shoot from a standing position because my body can’t move, so for me that means continuing to incorporate more, and more varied, physical training into my life.

I have never tried punching a speed bag before and wasn’t sure that I would even be able to do it having been told by my eye doctor that I don’t track objects coming towards me with any degree of accuracy.

What I found though was somewhere along the way, all this daily shooting has bridged that gap and my focus and timing has improved. It only took one session to realize that this is perfect conditioning for a photographer. Not only does it build and tone muscle in your arms but it greatly improves the hand/eye co-ordination so valuable to the photographer. You’ll also see improvements in cardio by doing timed sets of 3-5 minutes followed by a minute break.

If that’s not enough there’s the rhythmic sound of the bag striking the platform…almost as seductive as the click of a shutter.

One…

a sure sign that IT is coming.DSC_2960-Edit-2-Edit-2

Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.

Louis Aragon

Spring is trying to make a comeback.

As temperatures drop at night, the battle between snowflake and raindrop ensues leaving behind a wintry mix.

A sure sign though that it’s winning is the lone goose.

Soon we will be seeing bright pops of green in photos as people embrace the new season.

I see spring in black and white…what does it look like to you?

 

Atmosphere…

and creativity.

dsc_3481-edit

Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.

Ansel Adams

Many years ago I had family portraits done with my husband and two mastiffs. I treasure that memory but can’t help thinking how sterile and posed the image is.

It was out of that thought that the idea to photograph dogs in their own environment, just being dogs, was born.

It’s a challenging adventure kind of like those cooking shows where you open up a box of ingredients and have to make something amazing out of it. In this instance though you’re handed dogs and whatever weather conditions the day brings, and from that you need to create a group of images that hopefully capture the spirit of those animals. It’s real and unscripted and each shoot is different from the one before.

I think of photography as a language from which you develop your own accent and cadence. It takes awhile to learn what that might look like for you but I believe that it can only be accomplished by diving in and shooting every day under all conditions.

It’s an incredibly creative medium and one that I think it’s essential to develop your own voice for.

Will everyone like your work? Certainly not but in time you will develop a style of shooting that becomes more distinctive to you and with that knowledge it becomes easier to take whatever photographic opportunities that come your way and make the most of them.

On this day the ground had a layer of frost and as the sun hit it, it began to steam giving me nature’s version of a smoke machine. I couldn’t have scripted that and it lent such a beautiful, soft atmosphere to the shoot.

Have you picked up your camera today? Maybe you should…