h o t o g r a p h y  &  R e f l e c t i o n

A friend tells of sharing a cab with a stranger, as they do in New York. He asked the man his profession. ‘Oh, I take pictures,’ the man said. After my friend got out of the cab and watched the cab with the stranger depart, he realized he had just shared a cab with Richard Avedon. If the great photographer, Richard Avedon, just takes pictures, what am I doing? I guess we all just take pictures. My photography is not sophisticated au couture as Richard Avedon did or as technically sophisticated as sports photography or science exploration. My purview, the photography given me, is covering events for clients. It’s considered lower on the scale of importance in the broad profession of photography, but for me it’s still an opportunity to shoot what I’m interested in. My interest is in the shape, the line, the texture, the perspective of an image. I’m looking for these design elements to capture a telling moment, make an image that says something to us about life. I can do that anywhere. Of course photographing people is photographing life, human life, is a way to see into our humanity, through the human gesture, the slope of a shoulder, the turn of the head, to have some insight into our humanity. I try to photograph people, catch them in a moment of life, of animation, of expression, before they pose, before they put up their prepared mask. I want to photograph their humanity, not really to say anything about them for how can 1/125 of a second do that, but through photographing my subject perhaps I can find a universal human gesture that interests the viewer, stops the viewer for a moment to think about life. And when I’m photographing my personal work, I look for the same, a gesture in the moment that tells me something about life. And some photos may deserve to hang on a wall for continued contemplation. No matter what the photography, I think the aim is to shoot a picture that means something in the viewing, catches a fleeting human sentiment. How do I get those shots? Photography has taught me a lot. If I go out to shoot with the idea I’m going to get the best pictures. If I shoot with the idea of making a great picture to be admired by others, I get nothing. If instead I go out to shoot saying to myself I may not take a picture at all, then I am open to the world. Then the world can speak to me, tell me what I need to know. I’m not trying to manipulate the world for my ego benefit. The photo comes to me if I pay attention, listen to what the world is telling me. Even if I’m walking into a room with a shot list I need to acquire, I’m still saying I may not get a photo, and only then does the photo appear. The photo is a gift. All the photos you see are gifts given me. What I do is prepare myself, work hard at what I do, and listen, listen to the muse, and I am blessed with images that bless me. A photography mentor for me, Freeman Patterson, says the camera is pointed toward the photographer actually. And taking photos that mean something, with skill and insight capture a moment that passes, for me is the work, the reason to strive and to shoot.

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