I've often attempted to reason why I take the photos I take, but I never looked too deep. What I photograph just seems to work for me. The motto's simple: Something catches my eye. Something touches my soul. I shoot. Funny how the motto came before looking into the reason.
I recently finished reading Bruce Barnbaum's book The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression. It was an exceptional book that took me into the technical how to of film and digital, but on a spiritual level, it opened up many questions.
- Why do I focus on particular subjects?
- Why do I edit to create a particular mood?
- Why do I move from color to black and white?
- How do I connect with my subject?
These are not questions specifically asked in the book, but topics of discussion that pushed the questions forward. In such, Bruce touched on the spiritual side of art, and I agree with him that there is a spiritual side to this.
So as I hash through this and try to figure out what's going on with my photographs, and after reviewing some of them this past weekend, I tried to find a simple answer. There's really no simple answer.
Vines and dead leaves and wildlife and water seem to be a large focus for me. In a general sense I know why. I've always had an admiration for nature and the work the Universe creates, an appreciation for the cycle that's life. So I look simply at these four specific subjects and come to some deep rooted conclusions.
Vines - Just recently, as I've been walking trails, vines wrapped around saplings have been catching my attention. Often the subject I photograph are a representation of life (to me) and I'm beginning to believe that vines have more to do with the twists of life. The vines are a double edged sword. Maybe life, maybe death. Comfort or strangulation. It's the struggle of life.
Dead leaves - There's something about dead leaves and black and white photos that mesmerize me. Again, we're getting back to how fragile and quick life really is; how everything has a cycle. But why do I black and white dead leaves? For me, black and white images represent two different things - a slowness of time and/or desperation. It's not a joint thing; just one or the other.
Wildlife - Wildlife is innocence. I know, sounds a bit strange considering the survival attributes of wildlife. But as humans we've taken away so much from the wild, we've obliterated species, we've overtaken habitats - for what, so we can live better. It's an environmental thing when it comes to wildlife. I fear that one day I won't be able to experience the creatures that I photograph.
Water - I know exactly why I photograph water. Rivers, lakes, the ocean. It's a true spiritual connection. Water ebbs and flows. It's calm and it's wild. It nourishes and it destroys in a matter of seconds. There is so much power, both positive and negative in water. It represents life itself.
It's important to know why we do what we do, to find the spiritual connection between our world and our art and hope that we can share that connection with others.
Happy Shooting! - Kerri