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Author Topic: Self-enlightenment  (Read 485 times)

Chris Calohan

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« on: October 17, 2012, 08:41:47 AM »

Prior to my weekend with the Kelby walk, while sifting through this year's accumulation of "stuff," I began to notice a bit of a trend toward "Street Photography," even though I've never really considered myself a practicioner of that genre. I think we all make these little self-discoveries as we progress in our art forms. In my role as a photographer, albeit as a corporate hiree and not perse as a "professional with my own studio, etc., I shot large, unmovable things: bridges, large machinery, pipelines, gas turbines and the like. I always tried to shoot them as art with decent lighting, angle, etc forcing the form as tightly as the function and in most cases was able to convince the powes to be, it served as a better representation of their product.

No people were harmed in the shooting of these objects. In fact, it was a rare-rare moment when a person was included in a shot and even only then as an antedotal necessity. I think much of this came about from having shot school pictures (School Pictures, Inc.) for a number of years...oh gawd how I hated that gig, but I did get to eat. As most of you probably have noticed, I have only recently begun to add homo sapien back into my imagery and as such only in the genre of what I would call street photography. I still have no desire to shoot models, portraits, weddings, etc. Ghastly chores, I say, ghastly - though I do appreciate those of you who do such lovely work. It is a very fine art.

Short story probably too long, when I attended this art festival last weekend, I began to see a trend in myself as I began to explore how people move throughout an arena, in this case, through the streets and intersections. Over the course of several hours, I went from deliberate framing and shooting to allowing the moment to simply happen. I remembered this quote from Eliot Erwitt:

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

In this progression and trying to live up to this quote, still feeling quite fledgling in both the execution of my intent and in the process of developing my own style (such as it is at this stage), I made some rather interesting observations I would like to share. Part of this series I've already presented as "On the Move" in another thread. I am going to include it here as well.

In the first image of this series, as I walked about looking at the art, interacting with the vendors, etc. I began to notice the non-visitor, non-artisans who were regularly casing the venue. I have no idea as to their intent, but I found them interesting and one enough so as to shoot. This guy was probably in his mid 40's and I suspect one fry short of a Happy Meal, though it is that distictiveness to his persona which made him interesting.

Easy Rider:

In this next shot, the vendors work was quite popular and the observers were, I think at times at a loss on how to observe and interpret the artists' intent. It made for some fun observations.

Of Great Interest:

While I found this type of shooting to be interesting, I didn't find it challenging or "outside the infamous box" but even if that was the only intent - to create something "different," I think I would have found the difference to be more a contrivance than artsy. Back to Erwitt's quote but not in forcing the eye to see but rather to allow the eye to begin to make its own discoveries and see where it would lead me.

In the next part of this series, I began to play with static vs motion. Unfortunately, I did not have the big stopper with me so I couldn't really take this places I think I will in the future, and while I had a relatively stable base, I did not bring a tripod. Still, "Moving On" was a good step for me in a future direction. It did get the mind working.

And yet, while I found the movement to be of great interest, it was the observation of the ebb and flow of the masses which really began to intrigue me. I knew pointing a camera at people would alter the flow, even if just for a minute and I didn't want that bit of startle included in the observation. To offset this, I sat on a curb, cradled the camera in my lap, set for a shutter priority at 24mm and aimed and shot. The world is different from that angle, even lower than a toddler's viewpoint. In the next shot, the only color image of the series, I think I captured the simplicity of the "stroll."

The Stroll:

I sat there for a fairly long period of time, enough that the regulars quit eyeing me and those making a second run by that intersection didn't give me a second look. In my observations, I began to see how each segment of capture time looked like a diorama, like one would see at a Museum of Natural History. In this, I began being more selective in my shot selection and processing. It is very much only the beginning of a style, though one I think I am going to enjoy exploring very much.

Street Walkers:

Thanks for allowing me the time and space to explore a personal vision, exploration and the seeding of iodine in a rainless cloud.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2012, 02:39:40 PM by chrisc »
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Re: Self-enlightenment
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 01:56:50 PM »

Very interesting; a pleasure reading. Thanks.
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