With the New Year approaching, I have been looking over my photographic journey during the past 12 – 18 months. So much has been happening.
In September 2009 I published my web site after having learned enough of Dreamweaver to put together a simple one. I started this blog, which was a daunting idea for me being a very private person. Therefore I took a suggestion to offer something to the reader very literally and shared what little knowledge I have. Eventually, though, it swung to the other side with being just about my images. For the coming year, I want to find a good middle ground.
This past summer, a year with my mentor Eddie Soloway came to a close. It was a year of incredible excitement and frustration. I have been contemplating that journey and the pearls Eddie shared. The first one that came to mind was the “postcard”. Initially, I was disappointed that he labeled an image I really loved and was proud of because of its simplicity and yet classic look a postcard. Eventually, I came to not only understand, but also to appreciate what he was saying with this term. Postcards are classic images, views of places, that everybody takes. Eddie was challenging me to find my own interpretation of it. Throughout the year, he helped me see which of my images were unique, were representing my way of seeing.
I feel the other big gift he gave me was the suggestion to become a master at multiple exposures. In one session, he introduced me to Freeman Patterson. As a result I spent time looking at his multiple exposure images and, one day, I attempted to create something similar to images that had intrigued me. Frustrated with what I came up with, I had the thought: What would happen if I choose a flower as a center point around which I turn my camera.
Thus a journey had begun. After weeks of learning about what to watch out for and developing an eye for the ‘arrangement” I need to look for, I progressed to this:
As Fall came, I applied the knowledge gained to the colorful aspen leaves on the ground:
Continuing the delight of creating what I began to call Photographic Mandalas, I had a ‘happy accident’ as Freman Patterson calls it. Instead of having just the clouds at sunset in the composition, I had had a horizon line too. The image that resulted totally stunned me and, as time progressed that day, the effect of the fading light.
There was a new learning curve now where I needed to explore the correlation of composition and light distribution and their impact on the resulting image.
Persuing the creation of these Photographic Mandalas is giving me a deeper understanding of light and multiple exposures. Mine are all done in-camera, utilizing the multiple exposure function of my Nikon 700. There is no use of Photoshop. Every once in a while, I can now anticipate the final image. My goal is to be able to this most of the time.
Reading books by Freeman Patterson, for the past few days, I have been sitting with the question: What is it that I am doing here? One can define photography as taking an image of a moment in time as interpreted by me. An abstract image is often stripped down to the essential components. So what are these Photographic Mandalas? I guess, one could call it definitely Photographic Art – denoting it is done in cameras vs Digital Art, which is using Photoshop. It is a different look at ‘reality’.I talked about it with a friend. Eventually, we came up with an answer: In general, my images are my emotional response to the beauty I see around me. The Photographic Mandalas are showing how my camera and I “dance” to the diverse harmonies of Nature.
While visiting my family in Germany, I took images together with my father, who, at age 84 bought himself a digital camera. Looking at these images, I can see the influence of my year with Eddie Soloway: the use of a wide angle lense and otherwise, I was only working with reflections, which is representative of my moving more into the abstract.
There is also some influence of William Neill, a photographer I greatly admire for his abstractions. I got 2 of his e-books to give myself inspiration when I get bogged down. I enjoy the use of panning to create impressionistic images, besides the ‘straight’ multiple exposures.
Overall, this year has been an exciting one for me and makes me look forward to the coming year: Where will my photographic journey take me?
Where will your journeys take you? The best wishes to you for the New Year and much success in your photography!
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