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Deliberate Photography

January 01, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Happy New Year, readers!

As the new year dawns, I have much to contemplate.  I have recently retired from my nine-to-five career, and I am taking some time to just “be”, something I have never really done in my entire life.  I have been “cocooning”, being quiet with and in myself in order to know what should come next.  Life’s daily rhythm is no longer prescribed by a job; it is completely up to me to shape as I will.  Before I left my job, I longed for and daydreamed about having time for the things that really matter to me:  home, family, friends, photography, etc.  Now I have that time, and I feel a responsibility to use it well.

A few years ago I decided that the typical action-specific New Year’s resolutions are not for me.  I prefer instead to choose a word or two, a theme if you will, to guide me in a positive direction in all my endeavors.  This year, a word that comes to mind is deliberate, and it applies to my photographic journey as well as other areas of my life.

What does deliberate mean where photography is concerned?  To me it means more care in choosing what to shoot, how to shoot it, how to process images, and what images to share, a sort of photographic mindfulness.  Importantly, I want to make and share images that are meaningful to me … that I find especially interesting, beautiful, or evocative, or that document or express something about my life, musings, and feelings.

And that sort of begs the question that I ponder often … Will images that resonate with me appeal to and resonate with others?  I’ve come to the conclusion that the purpose of my images has to be my own artistic expression, and if my images also appeal to others, that will be wonderful.

So that brings us to the photo above.  Before I retired, I commuted the same route to and from downtown Houston for many (many!) years.  Leaving downtown, I was inevitably caught by the light at a certain intersection every day.  On many occasions, as I sat at the light, I picked up my phone and shot the boxy brown building on the corner. That image came to represent the drab end of the day in a seemingly endless string of working days.  The composition is not the typical, pat, rule-of-thirds composition, and the image is deliberately processed to dull the blue of the sky a bit and to bring in some gritty texture.  If it feels a bit “off”, desolate, and imperfect, even jarring, it’s meant to.

The photo below has a similar intent.  This one, also shot from my car while at a light, portrays a late day cloudy sky over an adjacent overpass.  It is processed to gray and darken the sky, and cropped to portray a sort of latent futility.

These two images are by no means technically perfect, and that is part of the point.  They are captures of real life moments, with real life imperfections.  They are however, deliberately processed, and deliberately chosen for sharing because they are meaningful to me.  I hope that you will find something in them that appeals to you or stimulates thought.

Please feel free to leave a message.  I would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, etc.  And as always, I wish you happy shooting and a satisfying photographic journey!


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