A Photographer's Eye
When my wife and I are out for a walk, she’ll suddenly notice, mid-conversation, that I’m no longer there. I don’t mean not paying attention (that’s another story), but physically not there—I’ve been distracted by a possible photograph. While I sometimes go out without a camera in hand, those occasions are both rare and uncomfortable—like realizing you left your phone behind—because consciously and unconsciously, I am always scanning my environment for potential photographs.
In my personal photography—fine art photography if you will, the images I offer as prints—I look for the unusual, that thing in an unexpected setting, someone with an unusual expression, an event caught at an interesting point in time. So though the object of my attention might be ordinary and prosaic, what makes it interesting to me is the context, the framing, the light, the timing. By isolating and framing things so that they can be looked at more closely, I am saying, “Hey, look at this. You haven’t given this the attention it deserves. See the story it tells!” or maybe, “How out-of-place this seems! Look how the light falls on this! Look how the weight of the shadow changes your perception of it!” So photography allows me to bring attention to what my wife calls “those quirky little paradigm shifts of my photographic eye.”Now I can’t honestly say she isn’t annoyed when I disappear from our walking conversations. That would be a mistake. But she is perceptive and visual by nature and training, and, like me, she perpetually scans as she walks. She just sees things differently and doesn’t notice what I notice. “How fascinating that we can be walking down the same street at the same time but see completely different things!”, is how she puts it as she walks back to where I’m “absorbed by a pile of trash." So I often get off easy, at least as long as I keep making photographs that intrigue her.