In my type of wandering photography, I have a general rule that I follow: Find the beauty in what already exists in the place. I look for scenes that are there, capturing them as they are presented to me. I see my job as the photographer as capturing the beauty without interference. My challenge is to frame the image so that you can see it too, without being distracted by whatever else may be going on around.
I wandered by this lovely display of flowers on Saturday in Hood River, Oregon. Tucked back behind a table along the sidewalk, the texture of this pot, the pop of color and the interesting contrast of the sea shells and succulent plants caught my eye. Much to my son’s chagrin (Mom, can we go yet?), I studied it for a while with my camera trying to find the best way to capture it. This early image is one of my favorites.
After playing with it for a while from different angles, I did something I normally don’t do… I actually moved the pot slightly. I straightened it up and moved it back so I could get the purple flower along the blue of the wood. You know what? In viewing my images, the ones where the pot had been straightened fall flat. They’ve lost their “found” charm. Their authenticity.
Maybe it is just me, but I find that this is one of my values in photography and in life: Authenticity. I have had strong negative reactions in the past to images that I find inauthentic. Particularly fashion photography, where reality is not the goal. For each artist, there is a different view and a different goal. Each artist brings different values to what they create. My reactions are not saying any type of photography is “bad,” but they help me to zero in on what I value.
I like to find the beauty in reality, with all of its imperfections. The beauty that exists in the everyday, tucked along the sidewalks of the towns we live in. The beauty that exists in the hearts of each and every one of us imperfect beings. It doesn’t matter if we don’t live up to our culture’s narrow definition of beauty, as prescribed by the mass media. It only matters that we are ourselves, and that we are sharing ourselves authentically.
Oh, look, I’ve found myself hidden amongst my photography again. Funny how that always takes me by surprise.
- Linking in with the Creative Exchange today. Hello to all!
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