The wonderful thing about mobile photography is that it is, well, mobile. It’s with me anywhere I go. With a little downtime, I can create. Anywhere, anytime.
Exploring my sister’s back yard, a spot of bright color caught my eye. In the berm leading up the mountainside away from her yard, there was one lone poppy blooming. I climbed the steep hill and balanced precariously, trying to capture the flower while the breeze shifted it this way and that. After finally capturing a good image — nicely framed, in focus, without my shadow in it — I sat down in the Colorado sunshine and proceeded to mess it up, transforming it into something new. Something that expresses more than the original photograph. Something that gets to the essence of the poppy, instead of the poppy itself.
Later I was passing the image around the table, sharing with my family. It’s an interesting thing to share in person rather than on the internet. On the internet, people can quietly ignore something they don’t like. You only really hear from those who DO like it. So seeing someone view my work in person as it was passed around the table, I could tell if they liked it or not. I got the unfiltered responses.
I discovered that not everyone likes the new direction my work is taking. I discovered they were surprised by the abstract nature of the art I enjoy creating. I discovered that these changes, which seem obvious and natural to me, are not obvious or even explicable to those who are dearest to me.
It does make sense… They haven’t been around me on a regular basis for a long time. They didn’t see me in the museums of Europe, discovering my attraction to colorful abstract art. They didn’t see me falling in love with Vasily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko or Paul Delaunay. They haven’t seen my playing around with paints and trying to capture the emotion of pure color and movement on a canvas. All they saw was the photographs. And now all they see is this dramatic transition of the art I share, because I’ve finally found the medium that combines my love of photography and abstraction in one place.
Yeah, I can see how that would be surprising.
Another thing that I discovered, as I found out they don’t all like this new direction of my work, is that I don’t care. I love what I am creating now. I am confident and comfortable with it as my own personal expression. I am comfortable with the idea that others won’t like it. Some don’t like it because it’s perceived as easy: “All you do is push buttons in software, and that’s just wrong.” Some don’t like it because they prefer the more literal interpretation of a photograph, and don’t think it needs to be transformed in any way. They liked my old style better.
That’s ok, because I don’t create for anyone else, I create for me. Some people will connect with it, some people won’t. That’s just the way art works. I don’t have to be hemmed in by anyone else’s rules and opinions.
And one final discovery out of all of this… it doesn’t mean they love me or I love them any less. My work is an expression of me, but it is not me.
That’s just as important to realize, I think.