So here's my question: what do you feel when you look at a photograph? And I mean, really look, get absorbed in it, let it wash right over you. And not necessarily in a gallery, or a magazine, or online (though god knows looking at photos -- any and pretty much all photos -- is something I am shamelessly addicted to). No, I mean your photos. If something drove you to a particular scene, made you pick up the camera and make an exposure, and then dawdle and fuss with it in the darkroom or at the computer, then what was it? Did it somehow move you? Do you think any about it? Or does it even matter?
Well, I for one think it somehow does, but I didn't always think that way. Maybe it comes with the years (of which I probably have more than my fair share) and the fact that I mostly shoot for myself these days, and turns out I'm a demanding bastard of a customer. But the events of the past couple weeks, stressful and heartbreaking, have left me in an unusually contemplative mood, and it is here that I turn to the meditative balm of taking pictures. And looking at them.
Interestingly, the excitement I feel when I've taken what I think is a great photo is rarely there to greet me when I open it up on the laptop and start tuning it. But not disappointment either, no. My initial performances in Photoshop are somewhat desultory (sizing, usually, and perhaps a schmutz of sharpening), and I have to put it away and let it percolate for a while. When I come back to it days, or even weeks later, lo and behold there it is waiting for me with a bouquet of flowers and a guilty smile. Where've you been, sailor? Now, and only now, can I really look at it, be absorbed by it, and let it wash over me. And yes, I think it matters.
The secrets to doing photography are no more evident to me than they are to you, but I think they boil down to this: look both ways, be kind to strangers, hold your loved ones close, buy a good lens.
And now look what you've done.