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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I take pictures...

I was recently asked what I get from a picture, why do I take them, and I thought about the answer for about 5 seconds, and this is what I said...

What are pictures for me? Many times it depends on the picture, and when I am taking it. Pictures to me are many things and a huge part of my life. I have aspired to be a "Photographer" for much of my life, along with so many other things, but pictures were always something that were simply a part of my life, whether I was working hard on them or simply snapping memories. Most of the time they are simply that, memories. A snapshot of an event or a day, or something that I simply wanted to be able to remember later. But in recent years, especially with a digital camera, where the cost of film and the associated processing are no longer a factor, I take pictures in a much different way.

When I got my first digital camera, I took it with me everywhere and took pictures of anything simply because I wanted to see how the camera captured images, what it did with light and what I could expect from it in various settings. I have never been the type to stage a picture, for me they have to be natural. If they can be easily recreated, I'm not very interested in taking the picture. I try to capture certain moments and moods. Many of my friends consider me to be a paparazzi because I love to take pictures of people especially when they are not expecting it. I try to capture the spirit of a person, to see them in the unguarded moment when the picture will show you their soul, when you can see what they desire, or regret, or what they truly love. I like to capture the moments of unbridled joy, when someone is so happy that they simply overflow with the emotion. Sometimes I can catch someone pondering some deep problem, and you can see the thoughtfulness or the worry, or the care that they are taking in a decision. I enjoy taking pictures of children playing. There is something special about children, there is a purity of emotion in them that adults try so hard to cover up. With children, there is no tact, or deception, you can see in their faces what they are feeling and to get those special pictures is always a joy to me.

When I am taking pictures of buildings or landscapes, I look to capture the mood of the subjects, a field of blooming flowers is a happy picture, and I try to find a way to make it look happy. A dead tree standing in a hedge is a sad subject, sometimes. Sometimes it is a subject that feels of grandeur, or an indomitable spirit. The lone sentinel holding its' place long after its' fellows have fallen. The lone tree standing in a field, in the summer time gives a feeling of hope, there is shade and respite in the stark world, under the spreading shade of the lone tree. In buildings I can see the past, walking along beside and among the present and the future. It is one of the things that I love about Odessa, the Old buildings being used for modern things. I enjoy walking into an ancient building, the facade rebuilt many times over the centuries and yet the interior is as modern as any building being erected today. The juxtaposition of new and old, to capture this in a picture shows that history can continue to exist, while being utilized by continuing generations.

Sometimes I see something that captures my attention and I simply enjoy the aesthetics of the colors or the textures. Today I took some photos of clouds. They were interesting to me in their formation and layers. Capturing a sunset is special, because no matter how you try, you will never, ever see two sunsets that are the same. Every day is different, and every location has it's special charms. Sometimes the sun is reflected from water, and sometimes blurred by snow. Sometimes there is a rainbow, or the evening star, the planets trailing the sun closely into the horizon.

Sometimes I look at pictures that I have taken many years ago and I can remember exactly what I was thinking when I took them. I am taken back to that exact moment in time and I can relive the feelings and the emotions.

This is what Pictures are for me, they are truly pieces of the fabric of my life and in some cases, extensions of my soul.

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