Monday, November 10, 2014

The Next Step

by Carol


Sacred Heart Church, Galveston, TX

Fall is slowly moving into winter and I'm doing more photography reading than I've done for a while. An article in Lenswork, written by Guy Tal recently caught my attention. The article is about capturing timeless moments with photography. But , if I am understanding him correctly, his point is that in order to capture timeless moments - you need time.  He likens his love affair with the process to an actual love affair. One that begins with "mindless lust," - snapping everything you see - that evolves into a "deeper and more nuanced familiarity and mutual respect." Your appreciation of  subject increases with an "on-going care and attention."





Think of the Ansel Adams quote (my teacher's favorite) that "chance favors the prepared mind." It's why photographic series can be so much more involving than one great shot. While our goal is always for an image to tell a story, a series of images tells a larger portion of the story. I couldn't stop thinking about Kim and her caterpillars, Terri and her desert flowers, as well as Leigh with her horticultural background. Or look at Alexandra de Steiguer's intimate portraits of the Isles of Shoals compared to the images of we who visit for a week in the summer. The more intimately you understand your subject, the better you can portray it. 




Although I have my favorite subjects for sure, I feel like I am stuck at the stage of trying to perfect a particular photo - I hit a roadblock when I try to create a series. I attend monthly photography meetings where people present what they are currently working on. The meetings are instructional, and inspirational. Since beginning to attend these meetings, I have looked at my photographs differently. I certainly see sets of images which could make series. Being more strict with myself about culling, key wording and making collections in Lightroom has made them easier to see. I've learned that after choosing your series images, its best to treat them the same way in terms of processing, giving them a common tonality, and the same presentation as far as sizing, printing and framing. It's helpful to conceive  of an artist's statement - even if you never use it, just to help you define for yourself the story you are telling. For some reason, that is encouraging and intimidating at the same time. I need a Nike ad here to kick me in the pants. I think I just need to jump in and give it a try. 



I welcome any suggestions on these images. Have any of you worked in series format? Do you have any advice? 




11 comments:

Sarah Huizenga said...

I am doing a series on barns with my iPhone and posting on Instagram. That is easy, processed similarly, the same subject just different barns and the square format. Now with my Canon I get too distracted too easily to stick with a series. One day I am shooting white pumpkins and the next I am shooting beach grass. Maybe I should work on that...

Jeanne said...

Thought provoking to do a series. I really don't think I have ever consciously tried to do that. I definitely have favorite subjects, but also, like sarah, go from one thing to another depending on what strikes me at the moment. Thanks for moving my mind in that direction

Dotti said...

First of all, let me say that your photos of 'our' church in Galveston turned out beautifully and they are so enhanced in black and white. A nice series, indeed, Carol! As for doing a series, I don't take this to mean that we can't shoot anything else. Of course we can! We should shoot was captures our hearts and eyes but to do a series, we will always be looking for whatever might be included in the 'series'. I see a series as an ongoing photography quest while the rest of our photography is what we see and feel from day to day. Good post, Carol, one to set us thinking, for sure.

ju-north said...

Thought provoking! I know a photographer who visited the same stone wall for many years in order to do a series. I guess it takes some commitment and enthusiasm!

Kate said...

I began a series/project last month that involves a little Lego Storm Trooper. Whereas it's a fun little side project I'm doing, I'm actually using it as a means to work on composition, lighting, angles, etc. I'm also still taking Real Photographs, but this is a fun way to stretch my imagination and creativity. I post the results on my Flickr page (I'm "rnrgrl66") if you want to take a peek.

I'm going to definitely look into that magazine you mentioned. It'd be refreshing to read about photographs instead of reading about what camera took them. ; )

Kim Stevens said...

Series can be interpreted in so many ways...sometimes it requires a large amount of time, like years to capture the sunrise at the same place, but yet a series can also be done of each sunrise itself. A story over time, and a story with mere moments. And yes, I have an entire series from egg to butterfly where knowledge of my subject has greatly enhanced my ability to tell the story. I love the series here of The Sacred Heart Church, and the mood in how you processed them. I haven't ever really thought about it in terms of series, but more like stories...great food for thought today Carol!!

Carol said...

Kate, Lenswork is a beautiful publication -well worth the subscription price!

Roxi Hardegree said...

I've wanted to do some series work like this and I believe it should be processed the same. But I have a tendency to play to much. Actually I have done some series stuff on my blog that has been the same. But not many. My friend refers to it as a "body of work" and says it should be processed similarly. Great post today.

Susan said...

Love your series of The Sacred Heart Church in Galveston. I live close to Galveston and have seen this Church many times, but never like the way you captured it …I also like your analogy of a Love Affair to that of photography! If the passion is there, it definitely shows in the photos. Beautiful work, and thanks for sharing!

Deanna said...

What a beautiful post, Carol. I love the images that you captured of that beautiful church and the way you processed them. Conscious or unconsciously I tend to capture many images on the same theme....barns, fences, front doors, cups and then with those images creating calendars at the end of the year with these themes.

kelly said...

it sounds so easy doesn't it??? but me being the world's biggest overthinker, I have such a hard time with this. but I love what you've done here in this series. love how the black and white creates a timeless feel. a beautiful series of images with a special meaning. :)

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