Powerful Mirrors

January 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

When I look through the camera I always, in some sense, see myself. I'm not trying to emulate another photographer's work. I'm searching for myself in the view through the lens and it can be very exhilarating. I know when I'm getting close, my vitals spike and all my senses focus on making a photograph. In the past I thought I was only searching for the perfect composition or just the right moment, but really I'm also searching for myself. My own sensibilities, experiences, and aesthetics become the filter that distinguishes my images from those made by others. I'm always sensitive to the subject matter but it must pass through that filter to be my own. By allowing myself to be fully absorbed by the act and by remaining faithful to myself while shooting I learn things about my subject that I could not have otherwise. Whether I'm making pictures of breaking waves, laundromats, or portraits there is always an undercurrent of the search for myself. Some call this a "style" but that word sounds superficial or at least too broad to me. You can buy a style or hire someone to create a style for you. The thing that informs my photography is much more personal, visceral and individual than that. It's observable but by nature impossible to fully describe.

My wife, as the one person on the planet who knows me best, has an amazing knack for spotting a photograph that I've taken. The subject matter is inconsequential, whether it's an image resulting from an assignment or a something more personal matters not. She sees me in there, sometimes even when I cannot.

I will admit that in some cases when I pull a new print, step back and take it in for the first time, I can get a little emotional. I think it's because some photographs can be such powerful mirrors. I see things about myself that I can see no other way.

Cheers!


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