Saturday, 21 June 2014

Daunting Undertakings and Precious Time

Today is a glorous summer day, warm, sunny and filled with prospects. I have a to do list the size of Africa and I have no idea where I am going to start or finish. I am counting down the days until I quit working for wages and the plans are coming together for my new life on the farm. I am basically assured of being able to pay my basic bills and I have several ventures underway that should pick up the slack. Photographically I am still rebuilding and it is a slow process, but it is happening, which is exciting in and of itself. My curently, one and only student, has decided to quit taking lessons, which was not entirely unexpected, so I am without that venue to balance the budget, but will now have time to work on the workshop project, about which I will talk at another time.

My renovations are way behind schedule, so they will have to be raised on the priority list, especially, since the days are now about to start getting shorter and I will have a little less daylight before long.The bedroom, which was gutted, in the fire, is still not cleaned up, so that will be first and then the bathroom has to be totally redone and the new fixtures installed. I am actually about to have a flush toilet! There will still be a tremendous amount more to do, but that will happen in the winter months. Right now, I have to finish the bedroom and re-insulate the attic, where I will also have to evict a family of squirrels that have moved in.

Horse wise, things are off to a better start, but this summer will involve a lot of training and that will involve a lot of time also.Sandy, the youngest member of the herd has turned one and will be ready for a new home by fall. He was the colt of my late Belgian mare, Sassy and my Clydesdale stallion, Andy. He will be a big boy, but has the disposition of an angel and will make someone an excellent partner, for almost any endeavour or discipline. He is a handsome lad and loves to be the centre of attention. Hanna, the Quarter Horse mare is still not bred, but she is willing and able and I have my fingers crossed for her next heat. She will be the foundation of my breeding programme and hopefully, my number one riding partner.

Summer is short and the list is long, but I am finally comfortable with my life and it's directions and ready for the adventure to begin, in earnest. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Life Goes On But with Changes!

It has now been an eternity since I have written anything in this blog, a lot has happened since last I did. To begin with, my favourite horse died of unknown causes, I  required further eye surgery, this time for glaucoma and I had a house fire, in which my cat, of 19 years, was killed. Add to this a just plain dismal year,a cancer scare and a totally horrendous winter and I think you have the makings of a tragic film script, with Oscar possibilities for best screen adaptation and best director. The latter because only a cinematic master could actually bring this thing to the screen. Despite all that, there has been some definite pluses to my life and mind set.

There is some old saw, about adversity and being the stronger for it, etc,etc, but in my case it has some validity. Now that I know my eyesight will, eventually, be lost, at least in one eye and that I am healthy and not facing my imminent demise, though that, too, is inevitable, I have a new determination, to return to my roots and quit wasting time spreading myself too thin, over too many projects, dead ends and poor prospects. I have begun my return to photojournalism, in earnest and have rethought my horse raising programme and streamlined and abbreviated it to allow me to actually make it happen, in my lifetime. I am about to cease working for wages, in order to supplement my meager pension and to be able to devote myself, totally, to my career rebuilding and my farm. As soon as I can and no later than the summer, nothing I do to pay bills and live, will have anything to do with anything, beyond the farm and photography. To that end, I now own a professional grade optical scanner and am beginning to digitize my files. I have fully entered the digital capture arena, with the purchase of more Nikon gear and my website is on the horizon. I also upgraded all my computer equipment to the latest Mac stuff and the software to go with it, including a subscription to Adobe's new cloud based material. The learning curve is incredibly steep, another reason why I need to concentrate my efforts from home, without extraneous distractions. Above all, I have come to the realization that life is too short to drink cheap beer, bad wine or to suffer fools and their frustrations any longer.

In all, I have no idea if I will be successful or not, or if this is the best path to take, but it is the right path, for my sanity and peace of mind and above all, my soul. To wit, Darla, the cats, the horses and I, are embarking on a new path,with new trials and tribulations to overcome and new adventures to challenge us. It will be a glorious journey and as it will be my last, a grand undertaking like none other!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Where it all Started

Recently, I was corresponding with a friend, who mentioned that they were considering a career change and perhaps going back to school, to The Vancouver Film School, actually. As the discussion progressed, they asked about my having an analogue darkroom, here, in my beyond rustic, existence, on the farm. I, currently, am living, a less than modern existence here, relying on a wood stove for heat and for cooking,while trying to renovate the farm, in general and the house, in particular. Although I have all, or most of the components and the room where I will put them, I do not, at the moment, have the darkroom set up. However, the question, brought me back to, my beginnings in photography and the deep role, that, black and white, has played in my career.

 My first exposure to the medium, was through my grandfather, who was a professional photographer and a raconteur of tall tales, in London and later Toronto. Pop, had a darkroom, where he mixed all his own chemicals, many from scratch, stored his photography gear and spent countless hours, making prints or developing film. He had deeply, walnut, stained fingers, both from the chemicals and from smoking and I can vividly remember those fingers processing prints through, the many chemical baths involved. As I grew older, I  went on assignments with him and later, worked, beside him, in the darkroom, producing the images, he had seen. From him,I acquired a love of photography, especially, black and white and a deeply rooted discipline, for the producing of images on film. He always used large format cameras, considering, until very late in life, that even 2 1/4 square cameras,were, strictly, for amateurs and 35mm, to be a toy. Although, the rest of his life, was less than regimented, his photography was very much, well ordered and precise. He always believed, that everything, was in the negative and that if, you did not have what you needed, in the camera, you simply had nothing. I often wonder what he would make of this nonsense, we call digital capture?

For Pop, the negative or the transparency was everything. Oh yes, he could manipulate them, at least the negatives, to try and save a mistake or an accident, but only as a last resort. When I was allowed to shoot something, it was always with the proviso, not to waste film. When I finally went out on my own, I carried that proviso with me, as a guiding and guardian angel. Although, I adopted the 35mm format as my format of choice, I strived, never to waste a frame. Everything I needed was in my negatives and most, were properly exposed and detailed, in both shadows and highlights. I simply carried the large format discipline forward, to the 35mm frame. The results, have never let me down. Where many photographers expected to get 10 or 20 good images on a 36 exposure roll of film, I routinely got 32 or 33, if not 36. I never approached the medium, with a shotgun approach, shoot a lot and capture a little. For me every image was important and wasting film was, a waste of time and of the moment. Over time, I came to realize that, all of my mentors and inspirations, shot the same way, from Bob Capa, to W.Eugene Smith, through Neil Newton, to Ansel Adams and Tim Page, they all counted every frame as being important. Of course, they had wasted frames and of course, so did I, but not intentionally. But, I digress, somewhat, from the thesis here, that of black and white photography and the analogue darkroom.

When ever possible, I shot black and white and I processed all my own film and made my own prints. Neil Newton, perhaps my greatest mentor, even beyond my grandfather, was the penultimate black and white printer and from him,I learned to make beautiful full range prints, even from my poorest negatives. I always considered myself to be, and excellent printer, but from Neil I learned to be better. He lives in BC now and apparently has embraced the digital world with a passion. We are no longer close, something I do not understand and deeply regret, but I can thank him, nevertheless, for teaching me the beauty, that is the darkroom.

During my career, I have spent more hours, in the dark, in more ways than one, than I care to remember and yet I regret none of those,in the darkroom. Watching prints evolve out of the developer,the smell of the chemicals, permeating the air and every pore in your body,somehow, brings the process full circle and serves to renew your faith in yourself. Certainly processing a large print order is a long and tedious process, that can often see you working for hours at a time. But,in the end, it all becomes a worthwhile experience, cathartic, perhaps, in providing a sense of completion, to a project. On the other hand, there are the sessions to produce personal images, that can and do, last much longer. I can remember going into my darkroom, many times, in an evening, with a bottle of scotch and a pile of negatives,only to emerge the following day, minus the scotch,or most of it, but with some of my most memorable prints,hanging, in the drying cabinet. The scotch, was easier than constantly, stopping for coffee, or soda,rather than for inspiration and fourteen or fifteen hours, accounted for it's reduction. The rest, was love and inspiration, diligence and technique and a joy at seeing beauty, come out of my efforts, both behind and after the camera. When he was a very little boy, my son would sometimes accompany me, into the darkroom and sitting on my hip, helping me process the prints, we would marvel, together, at their emergence, out of the developing tray. Memories like those, will forever tie me to a darkroom and far, far away from the world of computers and pixels and Photoshop.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Loss of Courtesy

Sometime, somewhere, over the last few years, we, as a society, seem to have lost the concept of courtesy. When I was a kid, growing up in semi- rural Ontario, courtesy, towards others, was just the accepted norm. Even people for whom you held little, if any, regard were, nonetheless, treated with common courtesy,if you needed to interact with them,either privately, or in public. I miss that simple concept, which has, definitely, fallen into disuse. Certainly, if all gloves are off and the situation is ugly, courtesy may not be an option, but in simple day to day dealings, it should not be such a foreign concept. Take for example, answering communications. People who take the time to correspond with you, for whatever reason,deserve to receive a timely response and that does not mean, six weeks from now. Even if all you say, is that you are not interested in their proposal, attentions, or opportunity,common courtesy dictates that you reply, Now, if that reply is ignored, then you can become more forceful in your response, even to the point of never responding again. Having said that, I will admit, that the rules of courtesy, may be deemed irrelevant, when dealing with telemarketers and related, phone based, interruptions to life, but not when dealing with electronic or otherwise written communications. A lack of courtesy is a sign of ignorance and no one, really, deserves to be treated with ignorance. We are all just people, trying to get along,in our lives and we all deserve a modicum of respect,for the effort.

I can well remember, my mother, trying to instil this idea into my adolescent consciousness and my reluctance to see the necessity of being nice to people I disliked or did not want to know. Nevertheless, I learned to politely thank people for unwanted invitations and when, a suitable and honest reason for not going, was not readily forthcoming,accepting said invitation. More than once, I actually found myself having a good time and occasionally, friendships developed that never would have, otherwise, occurred. Likewise, I returned unwanted phone calls, thanked aunts and uncles for totally hideous gifts and generally respected my elders, respectable or not. It was not a wasted lesson and has not been wasted upon me to this day. Oh I am occasionally lax in my responsibility to be courteous, but I make a diligent effort to practice what mother, so relentlessly, preached. I can not say that it has ever done me one ounce of harm.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Early Winter,Horses and Harmony

It is Sunday morning on the farm,it is early and it is a bit cold, the wood stove is low and hasn't really begun to warm the house yet. Outside the weather is typical early winter and is proving the weatherman wrong, once again,as the sun is making a hesitant appearance, over the snow dusted landscape. There is a chill in the air,partially from the temperature and partially because it was wet yesterday and the, now frozen, dampness has permeated everything, with chilling effect. It is a  morning for warm blankets and soft kisses, coffee in a steaming mug and kittens in a bundle of furry, furious activity. The purpose,either to keep warm or to entertain themselves in the near empty barn. The warm blankets were long ago cast aside and the kisses were nuzzles from the waiting horses, but it is all part of the morning rituals, around here. Darla is off somewhere doing her usual best to get lost from view and will no doubt need calling, momentarily,but in the interim, I am drawn to the warmth and companionship of the horses. Most have finished their grain and are poking away at their morning hay ration, with one eye on it and the other on me,watching for the onslaught of the curry and comb, to remove the burrs and tangles, from their manes and tails. Sassy, the Belgian mare will need the most work and she is waiting by the gate, knowing that the sooner she starts, the sooner I will let her go back, to her hay and her roaming. Andy is still eating grain and cares not a wit for the impending brushing. Young Clydesdale stallions are not overly impressed with grooming, when there is hay to eat, or cats to watch,sauntering across their paddock,or any other time ,for that matter. He will not be a problem, but he won't come running. Hanna, likes the attention. She is the most laid back of my four and puts up with the most, as well. She is a Quarter Horse and a good one. She is, also, no stranger to the cold. As a foal, in Saskatchewan, she lost the tips of her ears to frostbite,all part and parcel of ranch life on the prairies. She will eat or follow me around until it is her turn and then she will stand quietly,for the most part,until we are done. The kid, on the block, is another story. That would be Joey,a Canadian and though technically not a kid at all, he thinks he is. He is fairly small, but well muscled and shiny black and very handsome,with no need of grooming, thank you all the same. He will succumb,begrudgingly,but not without trying to walk away about every five minutes and turning his head as if to remind you that he knows you are there,but he is hoping you have gone away. The truth is, that, he loves to be fussed over as much as any of them and especially, if you have a sugar cube or an apple to share.
Working over these four legged companions brings an inner calm and grace to the soul. Their gaze, through deeply glistening eyes,sees much deeper than the human, with a curry comb and it shows. Gazing into a horses eyes, one sees things that are often only felt, trust, understanding,affection,caring,healing. Horses take you at face value,if you are what you appear to be they are satisfied. They will welcome you, into their moment and trust you, to honour the bond. Horses are great listeners, they are not judgemental, about what they hear and they hear the soul and the heart of your words, without need to understand the language spoken. Horses will take you places you have never been and may never go again,simply because there will be no need. All a horse ever wants, from you, is to know they can trust you. Trust you to lead them,care for them,protect them and be what they believe you to be. In return, they will give you 110% of themselves,in every way and forever. There is not a lot in this world, that you can count on, to that, or to any degree, other than, perhaps, yourself.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Tatters of a Once Proud Profession

For the last ever so many years,photographers have been debating, bemoaning and otherwise discussing the state and fate of the industry and one of the key points of discussion revolves around how one should sell/market one's images. The predominant model, of the past few decades, has been that of licensing one's work for specific purposes and specific time periods, while retaining ownership of the copyright. It is a valid, strong and controversial model. It is also one to which I subscribe and actually have done for my entire career. The other side of the coin is, to my way of thinking, a self defeating strategy, whereby, the photographer relinquishes all his/her rights,in perpetuity, for a set fee, that generally, is the least amount they are willing to accept and is dictated to them by the client. It is a sort of take it or leave it,or we will just find someone else who will,scenario.

Now I have been doing this for a long time and though that is only for historical context, this is not, photographers have no one to blame for the current mess/state of affairs,but themselves and that is my historical observation. For over 40 years, I have watched photographers consistently give away more and more and more, on the consistently weak excuse, that if they don't, someone else will. As a group, we have never stood together and said enough,we are the creators of this industry and without us you have nothing,so here is how it is going to be! We own the images, you pay to use them and you pay, based upon how you use them not,how you think you may use them,or want to use them, at some point, in the future. Throughout those years,only small handfuls of us have ever stood our ground and said enough and every time we have done so, we have won the day. We have won the day and then squandered the victory by allowing the industry and our colleagues to circumvent that victory,usually by dilution.Now at this point, many will say that the solution is to educate those colleagues to the error of their ways. Education about the issues,has to be backed up by the weight of the community. Everyone has to toe the line and those that do not, need to see that there is a price to pay for undermining the collective strength of that community. That price, should be/have been, sanctions. The offenders should not have been ostracized, which is totally counter productive, but rather excluded, or limited, from receiving the support of the community. Few if any of us would, ever, have made it, in this field, without the support and mentorship of our peers.

I own the copyright to all but a tiny few, of my images, in those collective files, are images for General Motors Corporation, Torstar, B.F.Gooderich, Ford Motor Company, The New York Times, National Geographic Society, Goodwill Industries,The Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery and a plethora of small businesses, individuals and charities. To my knowledge, I am the only photographer to own the rights to their images of/for General Motors Corporation. Every single one of these clients understood nothing about image rights and usage fees, before I sat down with them and we discussed the issues. I am sure, that the corporate attorneys understood the issues very well, but the rank and file people did not. Once they did, they were understanding, cooperative and supportive. The bean counters and the lawyers were won over by the simple logistics of economics,don't pay for what you don't need and will never use. Did they have to trust me, that I would honour my end, especially, if it included sensitive material and exclusivity? Yes, of course, they did, just as I had to trust them to return my originals or my scans and honour our contract,knowing full well, that I, probably, could never afford to enforce it, in a court of law. My point is, I am no super photographer, based in NYC, or LA and a world renowned name. I am and always have been, a small time,hard working, shooter, with as many nickel and dime clients as large corporate interests. I am not a contract lawyer,a suave, silver tongued, negotiator,or a gifted scion of the wealthy and politically connected. I am just a regular working guy, from a middle class background who owns my image rights. I had a mortgage and a family and an expensive divorce and the best way I could see to support all that was to keep control of my images, my only income stream.

Things today are no different than yesterday,if you place a high value on your skills and abilities and you are fair minded, flexible and actually care about your client's welfare, they will return the favour. Good clients, educated clients,understand the importance of maintaining a good relationship with their suppliers,industry partners and customers, they want you to be successful, because they do not want to deal with failures either. Once you get past the bravado and the legal department smoke screens, it all comes down to helping them be the most successful company they can be and in return you stay, equally, as successful. If someone understands a process, they will be comfortable with the process.
The other side brings up a lot of valid points, that we all face daily, but I still contend that, ultimately, all the client really wants are great images, that achieve their goals, for a fair price and that holds true for Mary Jane, from down the lane, corporate America and politically correct, corporate Canada. It isn't that they do not care about ownership issues, it is that they really, do not understand them and therefore do not want to, have to, deal with them. We can either help them understand and ultimately prosper, or we can give in and ultimately fail.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Of Mistresses, Muses and other Diversions.

The other evening, as I was sitting here contemplating this blog's contents, when it came to me that, in my life, photography has held many roles.It has been mistress, muse and a variety of other diversions.. No matter what condition my personal life was in, photography has always held sway over my inner being,an unrelenting, unrepentant seductress, forever drawing me deeper and deeper into her charms. the mistress of my soul, the one true driving force in my life. To be sure, I have forced her to share me with other ladies of my acquaintance but always she has been there,alluring, demanding of my attention and ever beckoning me beyond the now, into the tomorrows. She taunts,with the anticipation of images yet formed and visions yet set to memory. A siren on a rocky coast,calling to the restless sea to bring her a dreamer,a creator of illusions, one who captures times moments and holds them forever.

Ah, but  then, there is the muse,the inspiration for things to come and stories to be. The source of satisfaction and of discontent. Like any true muse, she drives you to try new things,inspires you to greatness and holds precious moments for you to savour,grasp and reveal for all time. A muse by any other name is still a muse and photography is a muse beyond description. Photographers and artists of all ilks, will claim to have a muse or muses, that inspire their art, but in truth, their art is their muse. Without the art form, the rest is irrelevant.

But photography has been much more than a mistress or a muse. It has been the passion that defines my life. It is the one constant that never betrays my trust. It is work and play and space and time and it is endless days and lengthy nights. Photography can free the inner child and it can soothe the tired mind. It can relive the past and recapture the moment and it can create anew. Pondering it's limits can occupy an eternity and send the mind on endless journeys of possibility. No matter where you turn, there are images to capture and moments to steal. Moments that others have created and you have captured, some with intent and some by chance. Nothing else compares, because nothing else can. Only photography can capture a moment,exactly as it was,without interpretation. Not that that moment, may not be interpreted, it certainly can, but it was frozen,without interpretation, exactly as it occurred. The painter presents an interpretation, the writer, the sculptor,the poet and the composer,all interpret what only the photographer freezes in time. No other method is as exacting,as truthful to the original. Of course, the photograph can be changed, it can reflect a different reality,but first it was exact.

Perhaps it is this exacting nature that has fascinated me all these years, or perhaps it was the siren's call. Whatever it is or was, it holds me still and will no doubt,until all time has run out. Nothing will ever replace it and perhaps nothing will ever compare, but one thing is certain, in my mind, mistress, muse or diversion, photography has shaped my life beyond explanation and continues to, today.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pet Peeves and Sundry Ramblings

Over the years, I have come to realize that there are a number of things that irk me in this world and a few others that are offshoots of the first. People who insist on using acronyms for every other word are one and the acronyms themselves are another,in some cases. Personally,although I do use common acronyms, I find it basically a lazy practice and possibly a cover up for not knowing how to spell or use a dictionary! No one is in such a hurry that they can not use correct grammar, another peeve, or spell out full words. Frankly, no one's time is so important that they can not stop to spell properly and fully. When did we find it necessary to invent short forms such as, LOL, BFF, or BLTN? I understand certain military acronyms, such as FUBAR, or SNAFU, since the actual wording can not or perhaps should not, be used in certain company, or in public, but what is wrong with "laughing out loud"? FUBAR,for those who don't know, means "fucked up beyond all recognition and SNAFU, is "situation normal, all fucked up" both are frequently used to describe situations in the military and elsewhere for that matter.

The grammar thing is one that drives me crazy. Now my grammar is not always perfect and I tend to over punctuate narratives, but the penchant today to not even attempt to use proper grammar, is overtly stupid! It shows a lack of intelligence and a total disregard for the nuances of the English language. It may be one of the most complicated languages on the planet, but when well written, it is also one of the most beautiful and descriptive. True, the language of Shakespeare is not the English of today, but it is still delightful and inspiring prose. The English of today, is equally as fine,if people choose to give it the courtesy it is due. Nowhere does the lack of understanding of the language show itself more dramatically, than in the writing,if you can call it that, of today's youth. These are the leaders of tomorrow and most can not put two sentences together with any degree of accuracy in spelling and grammar. What have we done with our education system, to promote this rubbish?

I often find myself  pondering the, ever growing, lack of understanding, of good photography amongst buyers today. It is bad enough that every Tom Dick and Harry with a point and shoot thinks they are a professional photographer, but to have photo buyers willing to support this idiocy, baffles me. I have spend most of my adult life perfecting my craft and yet, with the advent of digital capture, that has all been reduced to whoever will sell for the lowest price and give away the copyright as well. For someone to believe that no skill is required to produce a great image is odd enough, but to then think that the photographer should relinquish all claim to their creation, for little or no compensation, just plain doesn't make sense. Try telling Ford or General Motors that you will only pay this much, for their product and then you own the rights to that product/design and can do whatever you like with it,including prevent others from buying it. Somehow, I doubt that they would agree. That, however, is exactly what buyers are expecting of photographers. Of course, if photographers said no, in their entirety, it would be a mute point, but they don't! For every one of us that insists on fair compensation and the retention of the copyright, there are ten who could care less and will sell everything at bargain basement prices. You do the math, who wins in the end?

I could go on and on and on with things that provoke my ire, in today's world, but I won't. Suffice it to say that there are many more avenues of discord that I could venture down, most related to the ones I have already touched upon. Things like the proliferance of "social media" and worse, "social media gurus", or the lack of personal responsibility for one's actions, to name a couple. The point is, that none of these things need to be and would not, if we just took the time to think about consequences once in a while. There is a consequence to every action you take, be it good or bad. If the people who decided not to teach our youth about the proper use of English, for instance,had taken a moment to reflect on the consequences, perhaps that same youth, would now know how to write intelligently.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

New Beginnings

There have been recent changes to my life and with them new beginnings . I have reconnected with my only son,after many, many years. The results have been bittersweet, but rewarding nevertheless. Naturally, after so much time, both of us have been very cautious in our re- acquaintancing, but, for me, it has been a welcome confirmation that no matter what may, eventually, unfold, he is alive and healthy and happy in his life. Such matters are never easy, but they can only be positive in the final analysis, no matter how they play out. To know something for certain, is better than to surmise and never confirm that thing. Jason and I will follow whatever path our destinies have prescribed, to whatever end that may lead. The journey may be short, or, lifelong, but  it will ultimately take us to a destination probably not of our choosing.
Regardless, it will be the right destination and the path now lies before us. New beginnings, do that, they change our direction, in ways we did not anticipate and send us headlong down unknown roads. Life is always an adventure and adventures are predicated on facing the unknown.

The second new beginning is somewhat less dramatic, but a beginning nonetheless. After the recent deaths of my two dogs, I have a new canine in my life. She is a very pretty, blue merle coloured Border Collie named Darla. Yes, as in the Little Rascals Darla. She is a champion and has titles in Agility, Fly ball and Frisbee competition and being a suck. She is retired now and at nine years of age is content to show off as opposed to compete. Strangely, she absolutely loves cats, which is a good thing, since I have several on the farm as well as Mr. Snooks, who is the only house cat and an intimidating thirty pounds. She follows me around like a shadow and thinks nothing of occupying every square inch of leg room under my desk. She has also been/is a certified therapy dog, next to cats, people are her favourite thing to love. For a border collie, she is very laid back and that's a good thing too, as horses and hyper-active dogs do not always do well together.

These beginnings bring me to a third, which ties in with previous discussions in my blog. I have finally begun to explore digital capture. It has been a long time coming and is not without many reservations, but this new beginning is a huge step for me, much like Jason's contacting me was for him, I am sure and definitely like Darla's re-homing has been for her. I have not done much, at the moment and I do not have all the technology sorted out either, but it is certainly a new adventure and certainly a mixture of intimidation and expectation.
When he was a very small child, I used to bring Jason on motor sport assignments with me and gave him a point and shoot camera to play with. He took to it immediately and with no formal coaching, began creating some very impressive images. To some small degree, minus the impressive part, I am finding that same occurrence with digital capture, as I begin to explore it. I am still not rushing out to shoot assignments, any time soon, but I am intrigued with the prospect, I must say. I still prefer film over electronics and I think I always will, but that is the past and electronics seem, for the moment, to be the future. At any rate, now that cameras are not obsolete the moment you buy them , I can justify moving to the new medium. Who knows, perhaps I will embrace dog photography as my new beginning in this new,to me, field. After all, I have a new muse to inspire me.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Memories from the Life

Some things seem to prompt reflections more easily than others and some things simply bring them on with a rush. Today, for some strange reason, I am inundated, for no apparent cause, with recollections from my life in this strange occupation of photojournalism. A few of these are bittersweet, but the majority are welcome reminders of the things and people that I've encountered along the twisted path that we call life. The bittersweet remains, perhaps, the most vivid, but the remainder are, nevertheless, as clear as the day they occurred, though perhaps textured by the passage of time and the desire to hold on to the essence of their impact. I think that we all have that in common. We want to remember, exactly, how things were, but tend, instead, to subtly filter the extraneous details and hold on to core of the experience. Still, memory is a marvelous and amazing thing. It is said that the mind will selectively filter out horrendous experiences in our lives and bury them deep within the subconscious, things such as severe and intense pain great emotional anguish or truly painful memories, while saving, in the forefront, the best of ourselves. There are, however, a few souls for whom this may not be the case, or at least not entirely so. Perhaps, as a group, photojournalists are such souls, but definitely there are those, myself included, for whom this is certainly so. There is very little, if any, of my life that I can not recall. Not always at will, I must add, but when the mind chooses to wander the pathways of my past, nothing much is left untouched. I can remember,with great clarity, events from my very early childhood, events that are verified by others and likewise, people and events from there onwards, throughout my life. Eerily, at times, I even recall words spoken and reactions resulting. I also have an uncanny ability to remember almost every photograph I have ever taken, Not, as a photographic memory would, but rather,upon seeing the image again,all the details about it return to me. Sometimes, to haunt me,as in "What was I thinking!? " and other times as refreshing little insights into why I chose to act as I did, or say what I said,or shoot what I shot. I hardly think that I am, in any way, unique in this ability, but I do believe that it is a part of being a photojournalist, or at the least a part of my being a photojournalist. To me, a chronicler of one's time, should remember it well,if they hope to present it for others. It also is an invaluable tool in one's search for the meaning(s) to their life choices and the results.