We went to a photography show at an art gallery recently. It was a solo show by a nationally known photographer. Some of the images I thought were quite good, most suffered from mediocrity, and a few I just didn’t get. Since this is a traveling exhibition of mostly published work by a critically acclaimed photographer, it is now clear to me that I know nothing about art, not to mention photography. Clearly, I can’t tell good art from bad. What am I to do? Just give up and maybe take up fishing? I don’t think so. I love photography. I am passionate about it. So I will keep shooting what I see that interests me and remain in my blissful state of ignorance.
Which brings me to my self portrait. Looking through the plate glass windows from the sidewalk after the show I was rather intrigued by the play of the reflected street scene outside against the inside of the gallery with the patrons milling around. Hey, maybe I can become an “arteest” after all. Thankfully, that is not going to happen.
“Self portrait,” you ask? Indeed. That is me, the silhouette just to the left of center. The silhouette of my son is leaning against the post a little further to the left talking to the silhouette of my wife.
For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.
It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.