Shifting My Gaze
Thinking past the Noticing project, one of the ideas I’ve been wanting to work on is taking the things I’ve learned from that project and shift it to city scenes. In my photographic infancy of a few years back (which is an interesting idea in itself, sometimes I feel like I’ve come such a long way is so short a time, and sometimes I feel like I’ve gone nowhere), I spent a lot of time wandering downtown building my compositional chops.
Cities are great for this, things are mostly straight to begin with, and the task is to line things up in interesting compositions. I find woodland scenes to be more challenging this way, because they are so much more random. I wonder if this is why my nature work is more about pulling out the details? Really, I think that is caused by my curiosity: I habitually lean in for a closer look.
Back to the city, one of the main things I learned from Noticing was the importance of saying something special. Of comminacting an idea or emotion in an image in a way that, when possible, was new and different. I found myself often, when out in the yard with camera, composing an image of a flower and recognizing the shot. I had done this before, I’ve got to find something new here.
This last weekend I went to see an artist’s talk by good friend Andy Chen at the KellarMahaney Gallery in Zionsville. In his talk Andy mentioned something that he’s said to me in the past, that the projects we take on need to be things we have ready access to.
I think a big reason why this might be is that it simply allows us to work past the obvious. In thinking about spending time downtown I’m excited to explore it deeply, to look past the surface. I think it helps that I’ve spent so much time wandering downtown with my camera already. Not only did it help me learn to compose an image, but it also gave me time to photograph the obvious. Now I can get down to really looking for the special views and moments of my town.
This ties in nicely with the concept of looking at your familiar surroundings as if one was a tourist, visiting from far away. We’ve been trying to do that locally but have the disadvantage of the scenery here not being very scenic.
When last we visited your downtown, we were impressed at how cleanly and deliberately the area around the circle was planned. The way the various monuments were situated on their own sites, allowing light and photographers 360 degrees of access created the challenge of concentrating the vision to details rather than trying to encompass it all.
The image that you selected from the World War Monument is a good example of this: as grand as it this statue is on its own, it is but a small part of that magnificent structure. Its brave stand in the snow would be lost in a wider view.
The scale of the monuments allows the details to have details of their own and so on in fractal style.
I enjoyed photographing what I could in the short time I was there and look forward to continuing when I visit again, hopefully this month.
Glad to see you on the blog again,
Linda and Richard
Thanks for the comment Richard and Linda. “Glad to see me on the blog again…” Then all the silence. It’s been a busy few weeks at work, hopefully with things quieting down I’ll get another post up. (Aim high. ;) )
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