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Does Our Own Photography Change Us?

September 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet, author, minister, and philosopher, said, "I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."  Undoubtedly, we are literally made by the food with which we fuel our bodies.  Much wiser people than I have debated the influence of the books we've read, and more broadly, all the learnings with which we fuel our minds, but I am inclined to believe, like Emerson, that they become a part of us, remembered or not.  Contemplating this quote, I wondered, do our artistic and photographic experiences become a part of us as well, and in what way?  Few of us have written books, so our literary "diet" consists of the works of others, an influence from outside our own minds.  But what about artistic endeavors, and in particular, photography?  Many of us experience, admire, and contemplate the work of others, and produce our own work as well.  Does the practice of the photographic art change us?

I am sometimes surprised by which of my own images stick in my mind and keep pulling me back to them.  The photo above is one of them.  That morning, I was shooting dew-laden flowers, when this garden ornament with a spider web on it caught my eye.  I shot it because, well, why not (decidedly not very contemplative!).  Later, I processed some of the day's other images, not really seeing this one as a "keeper", but something kept me from deleting it.  I looked at it a few more times and eventually processed it.  It's certainly not perfect, but I am drawn to it anyway.  Perhaps it's the bokeh, the soft color palette, or the texture of the stone.  Or maybe it's the imperfections ... the lack of detail in most of the web, the bits of of grass and dust stuck in it, the dirt on the stone, the noisy background.  (Maybe it's a bit like life ... some pretty stuff, with some other stuff stuck to it!)

But seriously, I must wonder not only why I am drawn to this image, but does it change me, and if so, how?  These are questions I can't answer, but intriguing food for thought.

Does your photography change you?  Do you find any of your images compelling for unknown reasons?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave me a message.

As always, I wish you happy shooting and a satisfying, if perhaps mysterious (?) photographic journey.



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