PHOTOGRAPHY AS CONVERSATION
In the practice of photography, regardless of the tool – DSLR, point-and-shoot, smartphone, or some other electronic device – timing and approach are critical elements to consider when composing a shot. Whether you rise before dawn to capture the blue hour, sync your flash for effect, or tilt your smartphone to avoid sun glare, getting the light right can be a make or break affair when attempting to communicate a certain mood beyond the simple taking. Likewise, distance from your subject, focal point, and framing provide access to the field of reference you’re asking a viewer to consider.
With all these gadgets and apps designed to facilitate and share our vision, it’s easy for each of us to remain safely behind the lens snap, snap, snapping up images of reflecting surfaces while the darkness that informs, contrasts and defines our own subterranean negatives remains outside the picture. Photography and visual arts are more than “a picture paints a thousand words.” Big-cheeked babies, cat and dog tricks, awe-inspiring sunsets all tug at something beyond and beneath a motif or a moment. Images are an integral part of the language we use to connect with and share our humanity. Taking a Black Hole Trip or witnessing a volcanic eruption on YouTube is exciting, yet we leave to the neurologists, psychologists and cognitive scientists to interpret our own internal weather patterns.
As artists, the expression of our inner vision is often a solitary and sometimes private concern and ownership of the conception and/or its resultant objet d’ art has a capricious past. With our current social media and sharing capabilities both a boon for the masses and a bout of head scratching and scrambling for those trying to make a living through their art, the timing of these new tools in light of current economic instabilities allows for the development of new approaches.
We all need to focus our lenses on a kaleidoscope of metaphors and images to inform the greater human conversation. So gather up whatever tools enable you to see through the dark and lighten the load.
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