"Every Picture Tells a Story" It's an old adage and a song title, known by many and for many years. But sometimes I doubt the veracity of it, considering most of the time you have no context for when, how and why a photo was taken. It's not in the EXIF data. Maybe sometimes you can get a hint if the image is titled. But most often times not.
Take for instance the photo above. Taken shortly before dusk, with some processing, you would never be able to determine the time of day. Cameras today extract more light than ever, and Lightroom and Photoshop can add even more deceptive alterations.
I endeavor to remain as true to "what I have seen" as possible. From where I was standing, there was enough light to render some of the shadows visible, as well as some of the details of the boat. What you don't know, is that I sat poised to snap that photo for a fair bit of time. There were hundreds of people on the beach that night - Pokemon Go had just been released days before. Finding the opportunity to shoot without having people in the image was a challenge - but I loved the lines of the boat, and didn't want other elements distracting from the photo.
It's strange how the way you "see" things changes when you have a camera. While I believe there are some people that have a natural eye for photography, I have also come to understand that there are elements that can be taught as well. Composition has rules (all of which you should break and re-write) but you do have to learn to look at lines, and curves, and colors, and textures, and angles - and make a decision as to WHAT is the subject of your photo. I look for the unusual - things that I maybe haven't seen photographed before - or things that I haven't seen photographed in *that way*. Who knew that the Space Needle was growing out of The Eagle, by Alexander Calder?
When I find myself in locations where there is just SO MUCH to shoot, I find it helps me if I pull back a little, and start looking for the small things, The details. What may go unnoticed as a whole, but when you get close and really look, things pop out at you. Here you can see equipment that has been well used. The cracks in the float, pitting on the ring, and the loose threads on the netting. When I take photos like this, I think of the people that day in and day out use these nets, providing food for a population they will likely never know. From my visits to Fisherman's Terminal, I have come to a deep respect for the men and women who make this their life. It's hard, dirty, smelly work. But the benefit of it is huge.
My husband often travels to San Francisco for work, and whenever possible, I like to tag along. San Francisco is an intriguing, culturally rich city, with so much history, and depth and color. The weekend this photo was taken was PRIDE weekend in 2016. The shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando had just happened, and the PRIDE festival consisted of a VERY determined group of marchers and attendees, and the people there to support them just as determined.
I shot this image the night after the PRIDE parade - which had left me feeling incredibly introspective. I had just done some reading on Jack Dykinga, and was intrigued by the thought of "near/far" photography. Decided to apply it to what I was seeing that night. In retrospect, it was pretty symbolic of the day, and all the emotions I had been wrestling with. Throughout the PRIDE Parade, I found myself pondering the cycle that marginalized communities have to go through. They fight, they struggle, they make gains, and then find themselves two steps behind the one they have just made. So the near represents the current struggles for acceptance, the mid-ground their goals and aspirations, and the far-ground the place where they can finally join, and blend and become a part of the community as a whole.
We were just recently in Alaska - a first trip for me, my husband was born there, but had not been back since he was two, so has very little recollection, aside from family stories about the time up there. It was pretty much a bucket list item for both of us, so when the opportunity presented itself, we jumped.
Alaska is an intriguing state, and it's very hard to put into words the fierce independence and pride that it's citizens exude. The terrain is rugged, virtually untouched, and breathtakingly beautiful. More than anywhere I have ever been, the people live off the land, and the bounty that it provides.
When we stopped at Clam Gulch on our journey back across the Kenai peninsula from Homer, I was hoping for a shot of the Aleutian Mountain Range, and the Cook Inlet. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy, and this is about the only shot I got with any hint of the range in it. Five minutes later, it was socked in by clouds and mist. But as I always tend to do, I started focusing on the smaller pieces - although I guess these boulders aren't exactly small. They brought to mind the Argonath from Lord of the Rings - imposing sentinels of the land. Their simplicity, their imposing stature and their beauty were all a perfect summation of my perceptions of Alaska.
I call myself a photographer, but it is not a solitary label that defines me. I'm also a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a lover of animals, an observer of nature. I hear the phrase "professional photographer" a lot - but I'm truly uncertain of its meaning. Does it mean you have a studio and lots of equipment? Does it mean you eke out a living taking photos? Because of the lack of clarity on the definition, I'm content with just calling myself a photographer. I take pictures of the things I love. Things that move and intrigue me. Things I need to think about, or remind me of pieces of my life. Things that need to be captured in some way before it's too late.
I also think of myself as a writer. And it is because of this that I feel the need to expand the story that "every picture" tells. You don't just "take a picture". You capture a moment, a meaning, something that is important to you. It may not be perfect. It might break all the rules. But isn't that the glory of art? The rules are meant to be broken.
Oh, did I mention I'm a rebel as well? Expect the unexpected here. No chronology. No filters. No taboo's. Just me, my photos and my words.