Finding The Zone:
As I have mentioned in previous stories, this journey of my photography has become personal and revelatory. Each step, each lesson, each unexpected surprise naturally settles with unquestioned, visceral knowing. I have become entrenched and happy in the moments of picture taking.
And…like a destined lover who silently yet effortlessly slips into your existence and captures your heart, the moments of personal acceptance transform. I cannot turn away.
Not every photo I take is good. Many seem lost in the transference from eye to lens. Undaunted, I continue to seek out angles, light, and subject; knowing this is a constant education. In my quest towards excellence, I yearn for a better, more expensive lens. I study places, people, other artists to understand their techniques. Not to emulate but to be inspired. That is how I become better. This is how I continue.
Part of this journey is to understand my strengths and weaknesses. Close attention to such realizations allow for better choices, smarter judgement, less self doubt. This is what I know so far:
– My portraiture is weak. So much so that even a better lens may never remedy. But I am not giving up. People fascinate me. Every one has a story and often their trueness translates into a presence, a look, a posture that reveals. I will stay on my quest to convey the essences of my subjects.
– Landscapes are difficult. A beautiful landscape is inexplicably moving and majestic. But a landscape, even with the technique mastered, gets lost in translation if it cannot emotionally transcend. I am hoping that I will meet that esoteric transference and everything will come together. It must for I love the immersive experience of capturing a special place and moment.
– I am excited with my closeups and still-lifes. I am confident that my focus on detail, on light, on placement can truly elevate. From grapes on the vine to a wreath in a rustic barn to the intricate lines and bursting color of a simple flower…this is where I see joy and pay a quiet homage. I keep shooting, seeking out a magical moment when focus and instinct come together and produces “THAT” photo!
– And, to my ultimate surprise, I love to photograph people, objects, animals, etc. in movement. There is no posing; just a captured glimpse into a special moment that beckons a sense of story. It then is up to the observer to interpret, react, relate, or simply appreciate. That is powerful engagement and communication. I call this compelling connection the movement of life. I deeply feel its power.
I invite you to watch this video. It is a compilation of “moving” photographs taken within the last 7 months…when I began my picture taking and the writing of collection. The dance of life stories. I hope you connect with the metaphor and enjoy the images.
Sometimes, movement is not obvious. I know that sounds crazy. But I have learned that the placement, balance, and light of the images draws the eye so powerfully that the viewer “moves” through the photo. This is not easy to capture but the process and the prospect fascinates me.
And then this happened; accidentally on purpose:
I initially wanted to take a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge–from a different perspective than is normally captured in picture perfect postcards. How dare I defy the bevy of tourist brochures that have propelled this beautiful bridge to the status of one of the most photographed landmarks in the world?!?
I found a spot in a residential neighborhood called Sea Cliff, a beautiful part of San Francisco with stunning views of the bridge. I used to dream of living there. Now I simply visit. And I see this area through realistic yet rose colored glasses—an interesting dichotomy of perspective based on the compromises of life. I asked myself, ”What if the bridge was the looming backdrop but not the main focus; more distant and untouchable? What if there was clarity in a simpler image; perhaps a flower? I looked through my lens, took a deep breath, and took this photo:
There is movement going left to right; from front to back. The clarity rests upon the single flower and the out of focus bridge becomes dream-like. Voila! I have taken my first existential photograph. The juxtaposition of relinquished hopes vs. acquiesced reality.
I love this photo.
I call it: The Visitor.
What’s It All About Alfie?
Yes, like my writing, my photographs are becoming deeply personal. I am convinced that this is my circle of destiny. I have lived my years questioning, changing, daring. I have evolved into a better person but the price of experiential learning has been high. There were times I was a beaten, saddened, and lonely person. But I truly believe that what has sustained and, in a sense, “saved” me, is that there is something within my DNA, something deeply driving me that never gives up.
I have my critics. Naysayers, uneasy with the emotion and honesty. I concede that I am unusual. But what I cannot deny (and trust me I have tried) is that I am not one who can naturally sit still. I receive energy and meaning from action and interaction. I live. I love. I grow.
And my life…seen through a lens and written in these pages… is a creative culmination of all that was, is, and can be.
So I grab my camera and take photographs. I open my computer and I write. And I keep moving forward.
One final note…I have two more stories pending.
One is about my recent book (the challenges, joys, and ultimate accomplishment of writing and publishing a book):
The other story is part of a re-organization of this page. My intent initially was to write and use only photographs taken with my new camera. In short, no cell phone shots. But, as I gather my thoughts, I am finding, to best tell some stories and to truly unify with compelling reflections, I will have to share older photographs. Pictures that must be acknowledged; that capture definitive people and places. This proved most successful in my story: SEVEN SISTERS. (I invite you to click on this title to read this particular entry)
As a result, I will reorganize and create a special section of stories entitled: FADED PHOTOGRAPHS. Older photos that enhance the narrative. Still reflections, still the powerful merger of photography and writing.
Please stay tuned…
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