Who knows why some people like certain photographs? If anyone has an answer, I would like to hear it. One of the things that I love about photography is that it is very personal. Some people love certain images and others will hate the same ones. It really does not matter who the photographer is—famous or not—each image finds its own audience. To prove this point, all you have to do is look at competition winners and runners-up. Although I may agree with the judges on occasion, more often than not, I think some of the honorable mentions were the better photographs. It is not a cut and dry case. With the internet, there is plenty of photography to see but it is not all that good, at least in my opinion. But I am only one person and others may see my tastes in photo quality as mediocre. I suppose that is the beauty of it. As I said, it is a very personal thing.
For instance, I do not like posed situations. Those photographs where the photographer places his subjects in a sort of tableau and shoots the picture are for the most part uninteresting to me. However every now and then some of the images strike me in a positive way, and I do not know why, but they do. I am not a big fan of landscapes—especially when the photographer is trying to show the beauty of a scene. However, every now and then I see landscape that strike me as brilliant because the photographer has gone beyond the prettiness of the image and added something extra—something special. What it comes down to is that it is not only personal, there are no rules. You either like a picture or you do not.
I like this photograph a lot and I am not sure why. It was 5 years ago, almost to the day that I visited Fort Pierce Florida and stumbled on a Christmas pageant taking place here. I wandered around, took a few shots and then this lady asked me what I was doing. I said I was a photographer visiting from West Palm Beach and came across this event and did she mind. On the contrary, she told me she was a riding instructor, and walked me around pointing our some of her students and asking them to pose for me. Posing is not one of my things but I know there are moments in between a pose where an interesting moment may lie. I shot this one just as she was turning to face me. Why do I like it? Who knows? Is it the angle, the ominous sky, the white dress? Or is it simply that it was a wonderful day and I had a wonderful experience shooting that day. Or is it all of it?
It occurred to me today that it has been about 10 years since I closed my darkroom and switched to digital. Unlike a lot of photographers who have done the same and either struggled with it or were slow to warm up to it, in my case it was swift and painless. I think it had a lot to do with attitude, since I did not take this step reluctantly, but more important, I was pleased with my initial results and was excited to explore the possibilities in further depth.
We had purchased a small condo in Florida where we planned on spending the winters. It did not have space for a darkroom and I was reluctant to send out film for processing, nor did I want to wait until spring when I returned to Vermont to develop all the film I shot the previous winter so I bought a cheap Canon DSLR to carry me through. I started shooting with it immediately and was surprised by my initial results. It was not the camera that turned me on —it was what I could do to my RAW files in my computer. I realized I had far more control over my images than any amount of darkroom skill would allow. For all of my life, I had shot strictly B&W because I never liked the results that labs printed for my and I never had any desire to process color myself. All of a sudden, I was a master color printer.
I began to see things differently, almost from the start. As a B&W shooter, I had preferred shooting on cloudy days as opposed to direct sunlight. Now direct sunlight became far more interesting. My photographs began to change and I think for the better.
As June approaches, I resume my annual trek north from Florida to Vermont. It is an annual event that has been going on now for 10 years but this time it will be a bit different. We used to bring our cats along with us and that meant we had to do the trip in two days because as you may know, especially if you have a cat, they absolutely hate hotel rooms. However over time, they have moved on—victims of old age and tis time our trip will be taken a bit more leisurely. Hopefully I will be able to stop in a few places and perhaps take a picture or two as my old friend John used to say.
The photograph above was taken one summer evening in Burlington on the shores of Lake Champlain. I went down there because I had little else to do and I was feeling a bit restless. I noticed that as the sun began to set, people from the town would migrate to the shore to watch the sunset. It was a nice experience.
I have just published my first Ibook which is now available on ITunes. It comprises of selected ramblings from my photoblog over the past few years together with photographs. Its cheap—$3.99. You can get it here at:
Funny how people look at pictures. It’s personal—very personal. I sort of noticed this one from a while ago but it did not click. However there was something about her shoulder blades and pink strap that caught my attention. It was almost like a sort of fetish except that I am not attracted to skinny women. I guess that gets me off the hook. In any case, I did take notice. This was taken at one of my favorite haunts—Hollywood Beach in Florida. It was a shitty day when I noticed her. I followed her for a while. and then I just lost interest after about 5 minutes. When I got home I sort of noticed it and I just couldn’t put it away. About three weeks later I started looking at it and it kept growing on me and there you go. Somewhere in the back of my skull, I saw something. As for the casual viewer who visits this page , perhaps not but as I said, pictures are very personal.
Day 10, Project 14
When I went to Hampton Beach NH last year, I thought it was a disaster.But once again I surprised myself. It’s amazing how productive on e can be with a bit of patience. This is probably not one of my best efforts but I love the way she is holding her dress and that colors are… colorful at best. Its sort of interesting.
Incidently, I plan to return to Hampton Beach in a few weeks. itrs only a few hours drive from my place in Vermont. There is something about beaches; the open space, the sleaziness, the people all relaxed and hanging loose—its perfect—its summer!