I just love this category since it affords me time for research as well as just keeping my ear to the ground to pick up bits of valuable information.
A lot of my research comes from the fact that I read, and I read everything from fiction, non-fiction, biographies, history, and just about anything and everything that strikes my fancy.
Years ago I first got acquainted with Oscar Wilde while reading his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. He once said, ” No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist”.
I teach online classes with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around out planet. I tell my fellow photographers that we are all artists, and that instead of a paintbrush we use a camera to create our works of art.
A camera on a tripod is very much like a blank canvas on an easel, with one big difference. Photography is the art of subtraction, and when your camera is on a tripod you eliminate things in your composition until your satisfied enough to click the shutter. A blank canvas on an easel allows you to keep adding pigment until you’re satisfied enough to seek out a mat and frame.
In the above photo, I was sent to take a portrait of this woman who at that time was a big time player in computer software and was the go-to person for many of the Fortune 500 companies. The advertising campaign was about what several of these well-known people did in their spare time; being involved in their hobby. In her case she was a fairly well-known artist in her own right and the powers that be wanted an environmental portrait taken in her art studio.
When I got there I discovered that she was in the middle of a major cleaning so her art and furniture were literally mixed together and piled on top of one another; pushed against the far side of her space. The only window in the studio, where I wanted to put her, was on the other end and surrounded by empty space…as in nothing there at all.
I stood there and envisioned something entirely different than what I was really seeing. I put my camera on my tripod as if it was a blank canvas on my easel and began to paint. I carefully moved pieces over and as I looked threw the camera’ viewfinder arranged them in front of the camera to the chair, s well as on the wall. The chair I put against the wall and next to the window where she was going to be seated.
I can tell you that the end results would have looked a lot different if I had seen things as they really were. I don’t take pictures of what I see, I take pictures of what I’d like to see. It’s not ‘what is’ to me, but what could be.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. On July 30th I begin my 29th year at the Maine Media Workshops. I’ve had the same week since the beginning. It’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops than one would expect when coming to photograph the coastline, lighthouses, and fishing villages of Maine. Come join me and spend a week completely immersed in your love for photography.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I create a video critique for you.