Friday, October 26, 2012

Seeing Yourself in the Picture

At this point in my almost two-year old photography journey, I am trying to pull out the common threads of this pretty collection of photographs accumulating on my computer. I am searching for the possibility of a recurring pattern. Is there something I can tangibly put my finger on that says these photographs are mine? Can I see myself in the pictures even when I was standing behind the camera? These are the kinds of questions that go through your head when you are graciously asked to do something you've never done before, nor dreamed you would ever do: blog. And blog about photography, nonetheless! (Did you hear me mention that my journey is not even two years old?) It's quite an honor to get to share a few of my pictures and my thoughts. And for the questions that I considered, one answer stands out to me today and that is perspective. I have a favorite one, and I use it quite a bit in my photos.

I love seeing things from a really low perspective. A lying on the ground kind of low. A cutting off all but feet and legs kind of low. A putting my camera in harm's way kind of low ( I surely will drop it in the ocean one of these days). There is just something about seeing the world around me from that perspective that I find inspiring.

So I have asked myself why I am drawn to an ant's view of the world, and I think there are a couple of reasons. The first of which is a personality fit. I don't like to stand out. I like to blend in and go unnoticed. I absolutely let others take the lead while I cower at the back of the classroom. I let strong personalities take over while I quietly listen. To a fault, I'd probably even let you walk all over me, if you were so inclined. So if there were a quiz that matched the perspective of images with personality types, I'd say shooting from the ground would reflect my personality best.

And yet while a photograph of withering blooms lying on the ground may well reflect these depths of me, there is an unfortunate problem: actually taking the picture from the ground is rather attention-getting. It is so difficult for me to take the low perspective pictures that I desire when others are around. I don't like to look weird, but lying down in the wet grass or completely crouching alongside a road at sunset when everyone normal is driving home from work, looks weird. So my low perspective shots are reflective and yet challenging for my personality all at the same time.

The other way in which I am sure these shots reflect me is that I am drawn to the unexpected and quirky. So in a world where I walk around all day seeing things from the very ordinary perspective of five feet, six inches, I think discovering that my camera could enable a very different perspective was something so refreshing for me. I love how a low perspective leads something completely different to the story of what I am trying to tell with my pictures. I love how intentionally the tops of things and faces are not included, and you get to focus on things commonly overlooked. For me, documenting any location or experience just isn't complete unless I find a way to photograph it from down low. These pictures often tell me the most interesting part of the story and make me smile.

Digging through my photography to make these connections has been a good way to bring more thoughtfulness to how I use my camera and compose shots. Have you made connections like these? Have you noticed a perspective or subject or certain kind of light or processing style that you are drawn to? What do you think this says about you? I would love to know!

Today's post has been shared by Kelly Knox. After you leave her some love here, visit her gorgeous flickr stream....your day will be better because of it!!


Danielle said...

I was actually just thinking about this the other day as I once again was aiming my camera at the corner of a roof line with the expanse of clear blue sky behind it. I never realized there was a pattern in my photography until that day. I will have to think on what it may say about my personality.

Naomi said...

It's so fun to find new perspectives! And I also love the feeling of crouching down with my camera or doing some other physical maneuver that looks ridiculous. :)

Deborah Tisch said...

I love to photograph leaves on trees with the sunlight shining down through them. How that light changes the colors of the foliage, any time of the year, just seems like magic to me.

Great post, Stephanie! I really like that first image.

terriporter said...

Welcome, Kelly! I am thoroughly enjoying your photographs as well as your words today! Lately I've been in macro mode, trying to get as close as I can and capture the tiniest details of my subject. But I love your low viewpoint! It's something I haven't done a lot of but you make me want to try it. I'm off to check out your Flickr stream where I'm sure I'll find more amazing images! Thanks for being our guest today.

Carol said...

Hey Kelly, welcome!. Thanks for giving us "the down-low," so to speak on your approach to photography. I love your photostream on Flickr, and have watched you elsewhere too. I cant believe you've only been shooting for two years!
I love the thoughtfulness of this post. I've been photographing for years, but I still can't quite zero in on my style. I certainly know my favorite subjects -boats, barns, chairs, nature scapes, rusty old things.... I think my pics show where I prefer to be (as in outside!), I know all my pics express parts of me - but I just dont feel like someone could recognize my shots as mine.
Partly that's a result of my enthusiasm. Every time I take a class, watch a vemeo, or read a post, I think "O, let's try that!." And yet, when I look at your images, when I see Stephanie's, or Leigh's especially - there is no need to look at the signature to know who is writing. Sigh ---- I'll keep looking! (if you notice anything - let me know so I can "ponder" on it please!)
Insightful and thoughtful, Kelly. Thanks for joining our little gang today :)

Ahayes1225 said...

Great post, love the photos. Have you ever tried taking a low photo of a mushroom? They are wonderful. As for me I love light, backlight is wonderful and I take a lot of nature photos.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Thanks so much for sharing your perspective choices with us! This was very well written and shot.

Im a lot like Carol and I am very eclectic (sp??) lol when it comes to my style. Its fun when you love a particular way and style -- its great to see it in a collection.

Love your Flickr pool.

Thanks again.

Leigh said...

Kelly, thank you so much for sharing your photos and words with us today! You and I have a lot in common which I think is why I have always been drawn to your photos. You have a way with words and should definitely start a blog!

Dotti said...

Wonderful post, Kelly, and drop dead gorgeous photos!!!! Please visit us again soon.

kelly said...

It has been such a treat to see my post on your lovely blog! Thank you, Stephanie, for giving me this chance to put myself out there. And thank you, ladies, for all of your kind, encouraging words and for being so welcoming. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts and seeing how a few of you have noticed patterns in your photographs, too. Now I'm on a hunt for mushrooms...I would love to photograph one from the ground :)

Anonymous said...

I love this post, very heartfelt...and the photos are BEAUTIFUL! Great job and thanks for sharing your perspective of photography from an ants view:) Now I'm inspired to look into my own!

Jeanne said...

Love the photos shared here, and you have inspired me to take a look at my own perspective in my photography! Thanks so much and really enjoyed reading this!

Michele.NYC said...

Great post Kelly...thanks for giving me some food for thought. Loved the shots posted and will be heading over to check out our Flickr stream.

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