Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Photography Means To Me

As I have gotten more and more into graphic design in addition to improving my photography, I've found the need for a second blog. The first blog has grown so much in 2012. Now here we are beginning the Autumn of 2012 and with all the fall colors that I will hopefully be able to photograph, and then winter with the snow that will possibly give me more beautiful subjects to photograph, it's obvious that the time has come for growth in blogs too.
If I were to guess at this point what this blog will focus on, I would say probably the graphics again. I hope, however to be equally focused on the photography itself. Last week I went to my first Camera Club meeting of our local art center, and entering the monthly photo contest, I actually won first place! I knew my photos were good, but I really did not know what to expect from the other members present. I did find out that a lot of the members were not there and I know one other member (besides my daughter who is also a member) personally. She will be a challenge if I am going there to win all the time, which I am not. What I really want to do at Camera Club is learn and grow in my style and talent, and find my voice.
Photography, to me, is something that I find to be relaxing as well as inspiring. Photography also presents a challenge to me to do better than just pointing the camera at something and pushing the button. It's challenging me to really look at the subject before I take the picture if I have time. Obviously sometimes wildlife, pets, and children tend to move before you get the chance to plan your photo. But I've spent too much time in my life taking photos out of car windows while the car is moving because I am not the driver, or because the destination was the goal. Sure, you can't always stop right where you are when you are in the car. But there are times when you can make the effort to drive around the block or turn around in the next driveway so you can go back and really look at what you saw driving past.
Photography is a challenge for me also in that right now I am in the position of being the passenger in the car rather than the driver so I don't always even have that opportunity to go back to something I saw and get better shots from different angles. Hopefully it won't be too much longer before I have more control over my destination goals. I believe that even more than the disabilities that can sometimes stand in the way of my getting the real shot I wanted, the transportation is the bigger challenge. Before I can even begin to worry or plan just how I want to have a photo look, I have to be able to get there.
My daughter is taking a photography class in college. I'm actually fighting off my envy of her being able to do that. It was never really an option in my college years either because my course plan was too full with the required classes, or photography was not offered. She showed me some beautiful photos she took the other evening for a class assignment and, as amazing as they were seeing them only in the camera, I can't wait to see them in full on the computer screen, or better yet, framed and on her wall. But it was the location where she took the photos that reminds me constantly of my physical challenges. She was at the top of one of our local reservoirs where she could get photos of the sunset reflecting in the water. There are places like that I can go get photos, but it's the transportation issue that becomes the greatest challenge.
Hopefully the transportation won't be the issue too much longer. In the meantime, my focus remains on photographing whatever I can within my current abilities. This is one of the reasons that the graphics have become a bigger part of what I am doing. Don't get me wrong. I have had a big interest in graphic design ever since I first got my own computer and started designing my own websites. Realizing that I could create the background graphics as well as all the other graphics on the page was something that really triggered my creative genes. If you were to go through my old photographs you would even find some that you might consider strange. I mean you would ask yourself, "Now why did Cindy take photos of a bunch of stones on the ground or a brick wall?" The answer would be that I was thinking of what they might look like as a background on a website. Back then so many people were creating "Home Pages" which were basic websites about their families, their hobbies, their pets, and more, that I thought it would be cool to be able to create designs I could sell for them to use. Today, it's blogging that is capturing people's attentions. I actually have quite a few floppy discs full of designs I created. Luckily my computer was built for me and has a floppy drive so I can check those graphics out and see if they are any good.
That leads me to another reason for starting a new blog for my photography and graphic designs. All the designs I used to make were from scratch. They weren't from using photographs whether good or bad. I've started working again on making some graphics from scratch and if I come up with anything good, I want to be able to have a place to add them to my portfolio. This blog will have at least one tabbed page for graphic designs made from scratch instead of from photos.
I also want to spend more time talking about my work and what I am learning along the way. The previous blog was started several years ago and even though I deleted much of the older posts, I kept many of them. You can see from looking at those photos, and the dates when they were taken as well as uploaded, the cameras used, etc. that I have grown as a photographer over the years. The things I have learned in the past year alone would fill a blog, if I could come up with the words to explain. But the work itself shows it, I think.
What does all this mean to me? It means expressing myself in ways that I cannot use words. Color, emotion, joy, passion, style, laughter, tears, touch. All those can come from what I do. At least that's how it works for me. The photos of the black and white kitten on the other blog express to me how beautiful the kitten was and how much I wanted to hold it and even keep it as my own. The kitten was there for the photo session. It came, posed, and was gone. My daughter and grandson had just left my house a few minutes prior to my finding the kitten on my front porch. It was there when I took my dog outside for the evening walk. Even though my dog scared it up a tree, it soon came back down and took it's position in the bushes like it had been ordered to do so from above. It did not fear my dog because it had found a secure place in that bush where my dog could not get to it, and I could. It didn't allow me to touch it or pick it up. It was very much as though it had come for that express purpose, so I could get some photographs. You can see in the photos themselves how at ease the kitten seemed during the entire process. A few hours later when I took the dog out for the last walk of the night, there was no sign of the kitten. I have not seen it since that evening. Hopefully, when I have those photos enlarged and framed, they will speak to others who view the photos. The message may not be the same one I got when I photographed the kitten. Photography speaks to people in languages only they understand. As a writer, I tend to go on and on, and still not be able to get my point across to those I am speaking to. Photography, and even graphics, are more concise in the presentation of the message.
Where a photograph or a design speaks and is done, I write and often have difficulty knowing how to bring what I am saying to a close...

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