Thursday, July 09, 2015

Published 3:42 PM by with 0 comment

Eye of the Beholder - Select Photographs

Without a doubt, photographers have the hardest time selecting their own best work. There is a number of factors, in my experience anyway, that lead to this dilemma...
When a viewer looks at a photograph, he or she sees a composition that is either compelling or not. Although, with so many images being produced these days, getting someone's attention is harder than ever.
So why is it so hard for a photographer to select a good shot? It starts with the process of capturing. Of all the senses that are alive while I press the shutter, the only one directly translated to the viewer is sight. There is no trace of the gentle breeze, no sounds of a distant fog horn, no feeling of the dampness in the air and no hint of what I was thinking. Some of these things can be represented visually, but mostly not when they're either subtle or intangible.
When I cull through my own photographs, the memories of what I felt in that frozen moment are very much alive. I am somewhat blind to what is technically good or visually interesting to someone else because I'm so emotionally involved. For this reason, it's occasionally surprising that some of my favorite shots are not greeted with the enthusiasm I initially imagined. Through my own insecurity, I may then feel compelled to explain why I like a particular shot. This is not preferable because a photograph, unless it's a faithful rendering of something, say for journalistic purposes, shouldn't need any explanation.
At some point, I've had to let go of the need for others to like my work. I've been capturing images for about fourteen years now and I'm just beginning to understand this concept. There is a real danger, in any kind of creative medium, of over-thinking what will be acceptable to the masses and that kind of approach only ever leads to mediocre results. I believe that, if I listen to my own voice and trust it, an appreciation of the work will naturally follow.
With that said, I'd like to share some of my recent photographs. Most have been chosen because I think they make good pictures, while others are a little more abstract and appeal to me on a deeper emotional level. Where I feel it's important, I've included a little context.

One of the massive ancient trees at the Hoh Rain Forest.

Hoh Rain Forest in Washington.
Lake Crescent in Washington.

At the water's edge on Benson Beach in Washington.

Tidal pools and gull on Benson Beach.

Drawn to the Ocean
Any kind of beach fires up my imagination. I feel insignificant in its grandeur and that is strangely comforting. I suppose it makes me feel like any problems I may have get sucked up in the wind and carried out to sea. Of course, none of that is true but it is for as long as I'm standing there.

A Childhood Memory
When I was young, my family would take a vacation each summer. It was usually to some coastal resort and nearly all of them had one of these viewers. It was such a thrill to see birds and ships close up. We never owned binoculars so the novelty was always new.

A Decisive Moment
I liked the look of this aquarium in Wesport in Washington. I lined up my composition and, as I pressed the shutter, this man walked out of the doorway. For me, it wound up making the shot really interesting. In particular, his visual connection with the camera at that moment was unexpected. While it wasn't technically decisive, it certainly was serendipitous.

The town of Westport.

Gulls at the harbor in Westport.

Dad jumps over tidal pools while Mom and daughter look on.

While in Astoria, Oregon, we toured a lightship. I'm partial to this kind of interior design.

This shallow depth of field in black and white, for me, creates a very distinctive mood.

Astoria Bridge in early morning light.

The wreck of the Peter Iredale ship at Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon.

Afterglow. The last glimmer of light at Salt Creek in Washington.

For those interested, all photographs were shot using a Fujifilm X-T1 camera with the following lenses: 35mm, 10-24mm, 56mm, 18-135mm.

My Adobe Spark (formerly Slate) presentation of this post is available 

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