The Magic of a Camera
My obsession with capturing time started early in life. When I was 7 years old, my uncle Beau came to visit for Memorial Day. He had one of those early models of VHS camcorders – the huge, bulky, shoulder-mount kind – and for some insane reason he let me and my 9 year old brother Alex run around with it for the whole holiday weekend. We captured all the details of our childhood world, from the posters on the walls of our room to the backyard tire swing and beyond…all shot from the 4-foot tall perspective and angle, of course! That video cassette remains one of my most prized possessions, as it taught me the power of photography and video to capture a moment in time and hold it forever. I can step back into that long-lost moment and relive the memories of that place and time and it fascinates and amazes me to no end.
Photography is magical. It centrally deals with light itself, which is perhaps the most fascinating, mysterious and essential element of life as we know it. Photography also deals with time. Each moment of our life is unique and will never be repeated again. To be able to capture light and time and preserve it for future enjoyment is an incredible feat of technology, and yet due to the overwhelming flood of images that pass by our eyes every day online and in media, we take it completely for granted.
I try to remain conscious of the magic as I create my work, and over the years have honed the craft and focused my efforts and energy into capturing the moments I appreciate the most. I’m not a huge fan of shooting posed, artificial scenarios and it took me several years to realize that I don’t have to do that to succeed as an artist. There are plenty of portrait photographers who enjoy that sort of work and do it better than I ever could…because they enjoy it!
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. “ – Steve Jobs
My current specialty is music festival photography. I have been a lover of live music events for most of my life and music festivals have been a vital part of my lifestyle for many years. The energy and enthusiasm at a good music festival provides an incredibly fertile playground for a photographer. Festivals tend to occupy a special place in the hearts and lives of those who attend them. I like to say people bring their “A game” to the festival…everyone is expecting blissful, life-changing moments and their hearts and minds are open to new experiences, new friends and radical self-expression. I love wandering through the crowd seeking magical and colorful moments to capture.
Another interesting facet of photography is its relationship with perspective. Perspective is the individual angle that each of us views the world from, both physically and philosophically. We all have our own perspective, as unique to us as a fingerprint. Each of our perspectives is equally valid and meaningful to us and photography is an excellent way to express and share one’s unique perspective of the world. It is an amazing fact that I can stand in a photo pit at a concert with 10 other photographers, all shooting the same subject, and each one of us can capture incredibly unique perspectives. I have a rule for photography that applies equally well to life itself: “If you don’t like what you see, change your perspective”.
I did a study on perspective a couple of years ago called the Daily Shoes Project. The idea was that I would shoot the same subject each day and attempt to make each shot unique and different, beautiful in its own way. I have a theory that creativity thrives with restrictions and was excited to see that play out in the project.
If you are curious, the project can be found at https://www.flickr.com/
Photography is my bliss, and I have followed it into places that i never thought I would be able to go. I am living proof that Joseph Campbell’s famous admonition is true: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls”. I am excited to see where the path takes me next. I definitely feel that my best work is still ahead of me.
I’d like to end with a quote from one of my favorite artists, as an encouragement to fellow artists who may be discouraged with the work they are creating.
“You always feel about your own work that it’s never quite what it should be. There’s always a dissonance between what you wish was happening and what is actually happening. That’s the nature of creativity, that there’s a certain level of disappointment in there.’ – Jerry Garcia, guitarist and founder of the Grateful Dead
Photo credit on the image is Mollie Hull/SEEN Imagery