Seek authenticity, marvel in its presence but resist the urge to simply imitate. What is truly authentic should only inspire you to find what is already authentic in you. Doing so has become increasingly challenging in the popular culture of today where the emphasis is on appearance and immediate visual stimulation. Popular culture devours the authentic with an insatiable appetite and then sits in the corner, sad and empty-hearted. Just look what has happened to the most well known art and music “festivals.” There’s the perfect example. Imitation is a disguise for those who can’t – or have failed to – locate their own voice and it doesn’t help that we have entire industries that cater to imitation. Inspiration is the far better journey. Defy popularism. Be true, be inspired and become a source of inspiration versus imitation. That’s where you will find the good and lasting stuff.
Nature is a persistent and patient teacher with the life lesson of change. Having been involved with nature photography for over 40 years has allowed me to observe the power and importance of this lesson. The one thing that doesn’t change has been change itself. It is consistent.
People naturally fight change. They hate it. Honestly I do to. The very thought of ever moving again brings on a sense of dark doom. Change is so disruptive to what most perceive as safety and security. It goes against this inherent human fallacy known as control. But then nature comes along with her lessons, sometimes subtle; sometimes quite harsh. Late summer and into early autumn seems to be the time when mother nature too likes to put school back into session, with vigor and suddenness, particularly for those living in the coastal states.
Ohio’s lessons on change this time of year tend to be far more subtle but there they are, nonetheless. Summer ends, school begins, cool evenings give way to fields and meadows covered in webs and dew. The balance between day and night returns, and life goes on.
The opposite of fighting change within our own lives is to fully embrace it, with courage and faith. To emulate nature not in the struggle but in the quiet acceptance of what is meant to be will be. Ego insists on the struggle and attempts vainly at controlling the inevitable. Nature flows with it. She goes with the confidence of what changes never truly goes away but is returned again and again in new seasons and forms.
But with our modern lives embracing change is easier said than done. Ego and security are often buried generations deep with the help of inherited fears. This dire need for the “bricks and mortar” and monuments to persona do little to assuage wounds never properly healed. The falseness of our beliefs in ourselves and controlling everything prove to be powerful barriers for free spirits to overcome.
Nature continues to teach otherwise. I think it’s why I could never really leave her classroom. My camera has become my pencil and the photographs my growing stack of doodled and dogeared notebooks.
Change in the seasons and in life flow with an energy that when it comes down to it, I never see as negative. It’s continuous and so are the lessons. With energy so immense and eternal how could anything – or anyone – truly “end.”
In our lives we are given this gift of continuous love that we would rather shove into the corner in favor of what’s immediate and more serving of our needs for control and security. It isn’t until the hard lessons are put upon us whereby we return to the treasure behind our here and now. This gift of continuous love can be found and observed in both nature and in each of us. Change is the energy for it to fly in orbits that will never end but only become better and brighter through time and generations.
The photographer artist is beholden only to the limits placed on him or herself, to see, to surrender, to express. There must always be somewhat of a returning to the original story, the essence of what has never failed to move the artist to act deliberately to carry the beauty of the conversation between light, subject, photographer and viewer. The motivation never ceases because the rewards go far beyond simple recognition of a statement made and the person making the statement. For the artist art is life itself.
I’m happy to announce the photographs I captured on assignment last summer are now installed as backlit wall display prints at the soon-to-be opening of the remodel of the Rubicon Cafeteria at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. I am very thankful for the business and opportunity. This project was a creative collaborative effort with Deck the Walls and App Architecture.
Where print installations of my work can be seen . . . Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN – Andrews Air Force Base Ambulatory Care Center MD – The Zangmeister Cancer Center OH – Miami Valley Hospital OH – Wooster Community Hospital OH – Soin Medical Center OH -Englewood Health Center OH – Springboro Health Center OH – Buckeye Oral and Maxilofacial Surgery Office OH – St. Rita’s Hospital OH – Wood County Hospital OH
A photographer can describe a photograph in two ways.
Or a combination of both.
There is the description of the mechanics of the image – the camera and lens used and the camera settings as well as any accessories or filters applied during the exposure. I was reminded of such a description while reading the latest issue of Nature Photographer Magazine. Many beautiful images, and technically sound.
For this image such a description would read as follows – Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF24-70mm f2.8L USM lens. Exposure mode was aperture priority at f/16. Focal length was 27mm. ISO 50. Evaluative metering mode. Wait a minute, something I’m forgetting . . . oh yeah, shutter speed was one second. Oh, and I used a Giottos carbon fiber tripod, Kirk BH-1 ballhead and Kirk L-bracket. And a Canon RS-80N3 remote switch. And I was wearing my Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots too, which are pretty awesome by the way. Location was Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio. Date was March 6 2016. Capture time as 1:15:26 PM.
Still there? Good.
Bear with me.
There are many who prefer such a description below an image, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being more technically concerned with such information. But for me it is too defining, too closed-in, to withholding of the full potential of a photograph as both art of expression and extension of the photographer.
Truth be told it doesn’t take much to duplicate the image using just the technical information and the location.
But I always desire to go further, out beyond the mechanics of merely recording a second in time at a particular location. I want to see and contemplate how and why the presentation of moment and setting resounded in the photographer’s mind and heart to stop and record light in how it was being FELT, by first making use of his or her knowledge and experience of both equipment and exposure, and then letting go of preconceived expectations of what a particular audience wants to see and allow the vision and personality of the soul take priority.
That’s what an audience craves, whether they realize it or not.
It takes a bit more effort, and courage. There a comes a time when the growth of a photographer when he or she MUST place him or herself in every image and not just demonstrate technical proficiency. I think that’s exactly how I would describe the difference between beginning/amateur and experienced pro. There’s nothing to prove anymore other than the artist’s desire and joy in free expression unhindered by a lack of basic technical skill and experience (which I admit is necessary).
Unfortunately it feels as if everything in today’s world of instant entertainment and shallow appearances works against the full nurturing and crafting of artistic vision, and I fear so much of what truly makes an excellent image stand-out and tell a story is getting lost among all the noise.
Art is our treasure, a treasure that transcends time, for in art we see both the soul of the artist and a reflection of our own divine nature that strives to reach the uncommon and higher road.
Here’s how I prefer to describe the image posted here with this article –
Early March in Hocking Hills, Ohio, along the trail to Cedar Falls. A longer time exposure to convey the movement of water flowing from the first signs of winter’s release and a wider focal length to compose both foreground and background so that I could communicate both source and flow. This is a reawakening of life in the woods and the first signs of movement toward change in seasons, in both the landscape and within me personally. It was a challenging winter and a soon-to-be even more challenging spring. Changes had to come for new, vibrant growth to take place. I desired to part of that flow, to something greater, something better, and in the deepness of that pool I felt my soul and spirit move under the direction of a loving and guiding hand.
Yeah, I think I life that description better.
Fine Art – Stock – Commercial – Portrait – Workshops