In one way or another photography has been a very large part of my life or my career since the early 1970’s…yes I have been very fortunate.
I do however have a keen knowledge that the art of photography will pale and become dull at the point you make it your avenue of income.
I’ve worked with photographers who felt they were larger than the work they produced. I’ve worked with photographers that just never understood what their work means to those they photograph. I worked with photographers who really got it…and used the craft to help those in need and bring understanding to those around us.
The deepest emotion can come in the shape of a chair.
I’m happiest when I can produce work for hugs.
” MAKE ME AN ANGEL THAT FLIES FROM MONTGOMERY,
MAKE ME A POSTER OF AN OLD RODEO
JUST GIVE ME ONE THING THAT I CAN HOLD ON TO.
TO BELIEVE IN THIS LIVIN’ IS JUST A HARD WAY TO GO…”
“WHEN YOU GIVE A LESSON IN MEANNESS TO A CRITTER OR A PERSON, DON’T BE SURPRISED IF THEY LEARN THEIR LESSON.”
“MY COACH TOLD ME I RUN LIKE A GIRL…I TOLD HIM IF HE RAN A LITTLE FASTER, HE COULD TOO.”
“THE BEST ATHLETE IS MADE DURING THE OFF SEASON.”
Alijah Zauher, 2011
Shooting with the Lensbaby is somewhat a “leap-of-faith” at the very least you have to be able to just set your need to control every aspect of photography on the shelf.
The magic of creating an image for you is exactly that…fun it goes back to the beauty of watching a print come to life in a shallow tray of Dektol and then making refinements under the enlarger, never really knowing exactly how it is going to come out until you move it from the bath to the fixer.
The Lensbaby composer can offer some extremely sharp portraits or those that have such shallow depth-of-field that it makes the viewer uneasy.
Whether you’re photographing the children or the family pets over the Easter Holiday take the time to play and create without restrictions. Resist the temptation to reach for the “control” you’ve place on the back shelf…at least for the day.
Aunt Edith born in 1916 "Hell, you do the math."
Without a doubt every visit starts out with me asking Edith how she is doing and her standard reply is “I’m getting old!” and my reply is normally “Well no shit Edith your ninety-five years old and you have a stainless steel knee that won’t bend leaving you much like the tin-man in the wizard of oz without the oil can.” This is always met with an Edith impish smile.
Edith Robertson is Anne’s aunt but I’ve been claiming her for my own for the past thirty-five years. She is pretty sure that I only love her for her fortune but you can’t put a price on that spirit she brings to the table. She is diamond tough with a heart that packs the same brilliance.
Edith was born in 1916 a year before the start of the First World War; they called it the big one. It was the start of the Great Migration when blacks started to move from the rural South to the urban North to escape a culture of slavery and racism. There were jobs in the North and Chicago was a boomtown producing goods that Europeans could no longer build while fighting a war. This really has no bearing on your life when you’re growing up in Dawson, New Mexico a place that God couldn’t find on the map.
If asking about her age you will hear “I was born in 1916, hell you do the math.”
I enjoy these visits as they are a reminder to take each day as they come; stay tough; and keep looking for that fortune.
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Good photography has more to do with background than it does with subject content. But yet many of us give the environment that we put our subjects in the least amount of consideration. This is most evident in portrait photography.
If you enjoy taking portraits of family and friends take the time to put a little research in possible locations where you live. Two pieces of equipment are needed, a pencil and paper notebook (I have about ten years worth of 3”x6” pocket planners that are killer for this.). Keep these in your car at all times and take note of that old brick wall covered by vines; that crumbling wood water tower on the edge of the orchard; that cool dark and seedy ally behind the hair stylist.
Treat your subject with respect and like your family and don’t give too much direction a bit of a light heart goes a long way.
No trespassing! Ask for permission first, you would be amazed at how kind and helpful people can be once they know you want to take photograph. Understand your rights about shooting on public property which means parks, exterior of city libraries, etc.
Take the time to note the direction of your background and where the light may fall. When is the best time to make your photograph? Keep checking back with the seasons. That ok path near the creek in the summer may not have luster until autumn.
It’s more important to carry a small camera than to get bogged down by equipment that sits in the home closet. I carry a small Panasonic DCM-TZ3 because of its Leica lens and 10x optical zoom.
Remember that photography is about passion and not your equipment or technical skill. It is also not about being visually lucky…it’s about making your own luck by being prepared!