The Joy of Photography
April 19th, 2014
I've been afflicted with a very selective memory. What is it about photography that allows me to remember even the usual forgettable moments? Like so many who look at an old photo, I'm swept into the past and say "I remember that!" It's the magic that photos possess. Suddenly, my memory is amazingly vast and detailed! Being a photographer has enhanced my experience of life. It's the trigger for me to become that much more alert of what is happening all around me - because I'm looking for "the shot." All the senses are activated.
Over the past year, I've enjoyed exploring many places in New England. In a way, photography has opened me up to the vastness of my surroundings and made me ever mindful of the smallest details. I remember hiking through Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT. It's a beautiful park with a museum containing a section of the oldest footprints left by dinosaurs in the region. I took my new Canon EOS T3i and starter lens into the trails to begin my photographic journey. At one point I laid down in the middle of the trail to capture the tops of the budding trees and the blue sky above. I noticed spider webs glistening in the sunlight. The stream I crossed created a tiny waterfall. I captured that as well. I was training my senses to be open to everything around me and I remember the sensations and feelings from that first hike with my new camera. I was a photographer-in-training.
Recently, I visited the New Britain Museum of American Art. I have always appreciated many forms of art. When you think about it, no piece of artwork in any medium can be reproduced exactly as the original. Time measures change and things change over time making every moment unique and irreproducible. Understanding this made me appreciate Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment." Don't hesitate, the moment won't happen again. When I viewed the works of Thomas Cole and those of the other landscape artists of his time, I had to learn why I was so drawn to their large scale landscapes of the Hudson Valley, the Catskill Mountains and Connecticut. This is why inspiration, creativity and passion work together symbiotically. Learning about Cole's background, his use of photography in place of sketches, understanding the nuances between the painters and their divergent views of scientific process versus organic creation, and his questioning of man and religion transformed my own experience of photography as an art. My most recent photos are a marked shift away from photographic study and technical mastery to a pursuit of creating a true body of work. One that I plan to further explore and build over the coming months and possibly years. Photography is a journey, a process of introspection, wonder and exploration. It's been an amazing year of balancing technical skill building and aligning with my creative self. I invite you on this journey... my journey, and it's just beginning.