On Landscapes, Photography and Their Relevance to Me -- A Personal Statement
I love landscape photography; it’s difficult for me to articulate the reasons why, but I’ll make an attempt. When I was a kid, it became obvious that I had some innate visual artistic talent. (Key word: some. The significance of this will become obvious below.) I did a lot of drawing and when my mother realized this she wasted little time sending me to a community center art class when I was eight or nine. What became apparent at that class was that while I did indeed have “some” talent, I didn’t have nearly enough. I was, I’m quite sure, easily the least talented individual in the class. I knew what I was doing “wrong,” but for the life of me I couldn’t fix it to my satisfaction…or, for that matter, to the satisfaction of the course instructor.
From that point on, my visual expression lay largely dormant for decades. Focus was placed on my verbal and written expression, which came more naturally and, I found, was more easily developed.
Meanwhile, I dabbled in photography beginning in my high school years, but never pursued it with particular gusto. When I did fiddle with it, it was typically in the form of photographing landscapes while on trips to scenic places. I was again frustrated with my inability to translate my vision—the composed images that I had in my head, and saw with my eyes—to film, just as I’d been exasperated in my attempts to draw or paint the same sorts of images years earlier. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was my lack of comprehension of the technical fundamentals of photography that was holding me back.
In the late 1990s I became sufficiently motivated, for reasons I’m still uncertain of, to overcome this logistical roadblock. And so I did, with relative ease, once I put my mind to it. A friend of mine—Danny Burk, a highly accomplished photographer—was generous enough to spend a week or so discussing the rudiments of exposure with me via e-mail a number of years ago, and from there I was off and running. Having put the procedural aspects of the endeavor behind me I was free to concentrate on the art of composition, which was always my strong suit.
What photography has allowed me to do is to translate my vision to a finished project. I’m always surprised when accomplished visual artists—those who draw; paint and/or sculpt with such acumen—gravitate toward photography. I doubt that if I had the natural visual skill of most of those folks, that I’d ever have made the leap myself. If my hand was capable of translating my vision, that’s what I’d focus on. I have the vision; the camera is the tool I use to make it come to life.
I love landscape photography specifically because I love landscapes. I love looking at them; I love standing in and among them; I love capturing images of them with a camera; I love working with the images of them with software; I love making prints of them. In short, I love the whole process of landscape photography, from capture to print.
It’s my sincere hope that this emotion is evident to those who view my images.