Even though I’ve realized this for most of my career, it didn’t really come into focus until I started working on my fine art series called Window Dressings.
Besides working on great advertising and corporate assignment that took me around the world, the biggest kick I get is when I load my dog into my car with my camera bag, a map, and an ice chest and head out for parts unknown; without a clue as to where I’m going.
My goal is to find great looking old worn out windows, windows that if they could speak what would they tell me. Imagining who the last person to look out the abandoned window was and what they saw before leaving for good.
I come to an intersection on an interstate or two lane blacktop and flip a coin as to what direction I’m going to go in, and look for small towns that have a center square with streets running out in all directions.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of coming across one of these windows when the light is low on the horizon. I take what I can get at the time I pull up to one of them. I’m certainly not going to try and come back to it under better lighting conditions, especially when I’m trying to cover as much ground as I can in a few days. But that’s just the half of it.
I will often hear from one of them that they plan on going back to shoot something at a later date for one reason or another, usually because they just didn’t want to take the time or had something else to do; even though it had great possibilities.
I’m here to tell you that there’s a very good chance that when you do decide to go back it won’t be the same. There might be a large truck parked just where you were going to stand, there’s a construction crew that has roped it off, inclement weather, or it just might not be there anymore.
Case in point, the photo at the top was taken on the way to my lakehouse just outside Crockett Texas. I had never noticed it before, and really didn’t have a reason to. I passed by it and after a few miles I had the feeling that I better turn around and take a closer look at the building. I decided to go back and photograph it; especially since I had one of my cameras and a tripod.
As it turns out, it’s one of my favorites and my intuition was right. Coming back from Crockett on my way back home in Houston I looked to where the Mexican restaurant had been just to days before and now it was gone…as in where did it go in two days!!
And so my fellow photographers, if you see something that tickles your fancy don’t think you’ll just go back at a later date. Stop and shoot it right then and there…even if the light isn’t ideal. At least you have it in the can, and then you can think about going back under better conditions with more time.
Visit my workshop at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out future workshops at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.