That’s not me. But it’s a dear friend of mine who took me out to dinner when I was visiting NJ a few years ago. I find all manner of excuses to take pictures of her because she’s beautiful.
Dichotomy and Continuum
There’s a thing that people do – dichotomize. Separating things that harmonize when left as is. You’ve heard the expressions. You’ve used the expressions.
“You have book smarts but no street smarts,” or “… street smarts and no book smarts.”
Really? On the broad spectrum of knowledge, book and street are diametrically opposed – one living uptown, the other downtown? Fighting each other?
Is it really so that people don’t live along life’s continuum but find themselves, or put themselves along either extremes. Instead of fanning out, mixing and mingling, book and street, artist and intellectual, tax accountant and poet, are climbing up each others backs, struggling to hug their separate walls; questioning the point of the existence of those at the opposite end; and sadly, not even living peacefully with each other. What a picture! What a thought.
To be this or that … to do this or that. Come on. I dig that it may take a lifetime to “master” a “thing.” And I respect the ones who want to spend a lifetime mastering a thing because that thing fuels their souls. What I don’t dig is people, or institutions, or schools of thought, or anything that rips against ones whose souls are fueled by fanning out along the continuum. Whose souls are cramped when forced to hug a wall on one side or the other: food photography, OR real estate photography, OR portraits, OR weddings, OR pet photography, OR whatever. In some things – it may be necessary – like medicine, or law. But not EVERYTHING. Come on!
“You don’t look focused. You don’t look like you know what you want.”
I get there are wonderful differences within each genre, requiring different skill sets and approaches, even mental and emotional energy. Developing a style – takes time. If I had to identify a problem with “sampling everything on the buffet table and loving everything on the buffet table,” it is claiming to be expert at preparing everything on the buffet table without the benefit of acquiring experience, developing skill.
Just saying, for me, trying to find a home at one of the edges of creativity has kept me in a curious state of restless activity for decades. Ironically those decades of restless energy and activity has built up a digital library of tens of thousands of images, countless hours of working out creative and technical challenges, amassing boatloads of experience, and cultivating an uncanny ability to figure things out. And a handful of images that I’m proud of – those are what you will see here.
What Instagram taught me.
I noticed something interesting with my Instagram account at the end of 2015. It had been one that reflected my nature – to shoot anything. After I figured out the hashtag thing, I’d hashtag responsibly based on my images, not my account, meaning, my account didn’t stand for a specific genre of photography. If I shot food one day, there’d be a bunch of food followers. But if I shot a city street scene, the foodies ran and the street shooters took the empty seats. If I shot architecture … you get the picture. As a “no-name” photographer, it appeared that there was an expectation to be a speciality store – a one item sold here – account; not Walmart. So I ripped up my account and posted “one-note samba” content. Then I got bored. That just cuts against my grain. So I found another solution.
To make it easy for ones who have enjoyed my photography per genre, I’ve sectioned my site like those sectioned disposable plates that keeps the juices from the green beans from running into the macaroni and cheese.
This does nothing to help my attention deficit, but it satisfies my artistic schizophrenia.
Also, I’m packing up and moving out of Instagram. The accomdations at Steller are more … ‘me.’
Fact is, sometimes I’m not focused. Sometimes I don’t know what I want. Which means, sometimes I am focused, and sometimes I do know what I want.
Trust me, as a photographer, the issue of focus is always at hand. But being human, loving life and variety, no, I can’t just shoot one thing. Don’t want to. No more than I want to eat the same meal every day, drink the same beverage, travel the same road, listen to a single song, read one book, listen to the same conversations. And I’m certainly not casting judgments on anyone who does. Do you!
I just want to create … n (the variable that stands for anything; or, if you prefer … x).
Dichotomy – a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.
Continuum – a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct.
Here I am
What had happened was, I was practicing a manual dodge and burn technique on an image I shot with a Nikon P7000. I was crazy about this little camera and I was reasonably pleased with the quality of the images. But it was the final edit that made me question the role of the gear versus the role of multiple factors.