Extraordinarily Ordinary ~

My guru Richard recently complimented me on one of my photographs. In particular, he noted the way that I made something quite ordinary look much more dramatic than what might have been suggested at first glance. But it made me think, and what I thought was, well, this is probably true for nearly all photography, no? I mean, sure, we've seen images of extraordinary events and extraordinary people, but when we take up our cameras and sally forth, that's not what we're looking for. If it was, we'd be missing the point.

It's an extraordinary experience, photography. There's nothing normal, nothing natural, about taking a photograph. First of all, there's that whole act of seeing, of being totally in the moment, observing that one point and eliminating all else, fixing it in your mind, and then -- only then -- performing the very unnatural act of bringing a camera to your eye. It's random, it can be anything: raindrops on a flower, a beautiful smile, a busy street -- or maybe just the sunlight streaming in through my kitchen window. Anyway, I think all the arts must be like this; putting paint on canvas or typing words on paper are efforts every bit as extraordinary and unnatural.

We train ourselves to believe otherwise, but really, the challenge is to avoid becoming complacent, and that's easier said than done. Me, I spend nearly all my waking moments looking around me, seeing those perfect and deliciously imperfect moments, taking little mental photographs. And no, it won't drive you to drink, not that there's anything wrong with that, but you do end up spending every waking moment adjusting your vision.

 So when I'm walking around in the rain with my camera, or even shooting a job in the studio, I may want the motions to be smooth and seamless, but I also want to lose my balance just a little bit. I see things better that way.