Monday, March 28, 2011

AgEd EyEs

How often do you revisit things you have done in the past?  Examine them, and take a fresh look? 

I don't mean second guessing, I just mean looking at something as it is through fresh eyes with and aged perspective.  You could have done it last week, six months ago or several years ago. 

I know most things don't need revisiting.  But often times I have found looking at things through different eyes having now been through different experiences, adjusts an outcome or a perception or a feeling.

It is easy for me to do this now with my photography. 

As it has been for years taking the picture actually snapping the shutter is only a small fraction of what it takes for a photo to really come to life. 

The next step is the development of the picture.  There are many ways, and infinite amount really of different techniques and different methods.  Ansel Adams a very famous photographer was genius at this.  When he was exposing his images to light he would adjust the length of time each area was exposed.  This subtle adjustment in the developing and printing stage was key in achieving the moody, emotional, evocative prints he sold.  As his negative projected he would hold up hand made tools that would help him to create his vision.  He charted what he did in notes that only he understood. 

When he would make the "same" picture after a period of years his style would have adjusted, when he may have preferred dark gray tones to black ones earlier in his life and as he aged his perspective shifted and so did his art. 

I have found this to be the case with my workings as well.  What I liked at one time, and I created at one moment, has in a future date and place shifted with age, experience, perspective, education, emotions... really an infinite amount of things come into play when creating something. 

One day while working on a photo my mood may have been somber.  Or I may have been medicated and feeling much pain, I may have been happy or I may have just been overwhelmed by the beauty of an image. 

I occasionally will find that I am spent.  I have nothing left to give, no perspective, no vision.  I just stare.  That is when Jason being the smart man that he is tells me to go buy some shoes, or we do something different.

Being such a visual person, I find it difficult to relay what I am thinking to Jason...  in many cases he is my shutter pusher.  In many cases he is his own shutter pusher.  I am often my own shutter pusher.  We have distinct styles.  He can see them clearly, in my minds eye they blur together a bit more.  I am influenced by his likings and he has been influenced by mine.  

I don't know that we will ever see through the same eyes, but I hope that we never do.  Different perspective is a gift.  He offers what I would have never seen and vice-versa.  In one moment we have two different aged views.  I don't have to wait another moment to gain a fresh set of eyes. 

A while back he and a buddy went to Yellowstone.  Of course he took his camera.   It was not a trip for me.  Hiking and such.. he'd really love to take me so I could see for my own eyes the grandeur and feel what he felt while he was there.  But getting to see what he saw through his camera lens was also incredible.  He took pictures he recorded his sights to share with me.  He froze moments in time in an effort to relay what he was feeling at these moments and to share what he was seeing. 

Can a picture do Yellowstone justice.  I highly doubt it.  It can however convey some of the emotion that you may have felt standing there.  For him, seeing the pictures again, especially now that we've gotten a couple of them on canvas, he can channel the feelings that he personally felt when standing there and gazing at the marvelous scene before him.

While I was not there, I have never been there.  I have watched television shows on Yellowstone, but with out seeing it in person I don't have those memories etched in my mind.  When I work on those photographs as I am now doing for the second time...  I look at each image with a fresh eye.  I start from the negative that was given when the shutter went off. 

I take all that the camera recorded and then I begin sculpting it to make it my own.  To make this image into something that I feel has a soul, that offers someone who views it a perspective, an emotion, an interest, or a feeling to want to know more.  Maybe a sense of peace... possibilities are once again endless.. 

Someone may even have a negative reaction to what I have done.  That is good too.  Allowing people to feel something, to realize something to be alive enough to cause a reaction.

I find that in comparing how I chose to expose an image before and how I am choosing to expose an image now to be a dichotomy of sorts.  The one image that comes to mind that I just worked on compared side to side with the same image I had exposed nearly a year or so ago.. you of course can tell it is the same image.  However at the time I had originally worked on it I had focused on the sky.  When I did it this time I was drawn to focus the attention on the land. 

All I can tell you about why I changed is that today the image with the focus on the land made me feel more grounded.  More steady.  Maybe right now today I am more grounded than I was a year ago.  Maybe there is no more need to read into this any more than I just liked it better this way now. 

I don't know, but it struck me as I put the final touches on it that the image was made stronger for having the focus on the land.  However when looking at the image from before, I felt a sense of lightness as well. 

Funny huh?  Deep? Probably just a little loony. 

I wanted to take some time to explain what I went through while working on this picture.  I have a whole series left to get through.  I am creating our gallery.

Tomorrow Jason and I will have more pictures to take.  He's got some amazing ideas too, I can't wait to see what he see's through his eyes.

Take some time to look at something in your life through fresh eyes.

Pink Doberman

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