I have been thinking about “Place” more lately. As I’ve found myself settling into place here in Oregon, I’ve mentioned how much I’ve seen things shift. Not the least of which has been in my art, with my recent
obsession with inspiration from trees. It makes sense, in a way. I’m looking to be inspired by what’s here, right in front of me. And in Oregon, in my small town of Corvallis, there are plenty of trees. It’s quite amazing how much forest there is to explore just a few minutes from my home. The urban forest in our streets and parks, and the true forest with acres of trees and miles of paths.
For a while now, I’ve considered myself a “Photographer of Place” and that hasn’t changed with this shift. I see, even more than before, how important place is to what we create. Place is what we see every day. Place is where we exist. As a photographer, unless you work exclusively in a studio, “place” is part of what you photograph. You might say, “No, no, I photograph nature.” That’s place. The plants that grow are indicative of place. So are the cars we drive and the streets we walk and the textures of the materials we build with. All place.
We can visit new places, and let that inspire us, or we can be inspired by the places we have access to everyday. What I’ve realized with my recent shift is that it can be a choice. I can say, “I’m only inspired when I’m exploring a new place.” And I can limit myself. I can be frustrated by what I don’t see every day. I can constantly wish to be elsewhere. Or I can say, “I’m going to find something that inspires me in this place.” And I can free myself to create. Anytime, anywhere.
I think that my finding joy in the place I am right now is going to play out with creating even strong images when I visit a new place. I don’t know why, but I know it for truth, from somewhere deep down inside. As if being able to truly see what is right in front of me in a familiar place will make me more receptive as I visit new places.
As I’ve been contemplating all of this, I find I am even more excited to teach A Sense of Place again this year. I think it will be a whole new experience for me, right along side all of you. Registration for the Las Vegas workshop in April is now open at Selah and registration for the 8-week eCourse, running April-May, will open soon.
What do you think… Want to join me in exploring place?