This weekend I gave the keynote presentation at the Community Photo Workshop program at the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY, part of the National Park Service. While I forgot to announce it here, I did mention it on my Facebook page and also via the last newsletter, so apologies to those who did not know about it. Life can get rather busy at times as I’m sure you can all understand. You can subscribe here for future announcements and updates.
My slideshow presentation, “Beauty Within – The Journey of Landscape Photography” is one that I have given many times in the past, though I continually tweak and refine it as I learn and grow as a photographer and human being. It basically summarizes my philosophy and approach to why I do what I do, and how this has driven my creative life since I can remember.
Seeking beauty in nature, having a singular passion for subject and light, and focusing on mastering the language of photography in order to tell a story that resonates and imparts as much emotion as possible with the viewer; these are many of the things that keep me inspired year after year. They also keep me up late at night with thoughts of failure. These are lofty goals for sure, yet we progress and move along our chosen path moment by moment and image by image. If you ask yourself why you’re taking a picture each time you press the shutter, you will gain confidence and clarity, and discover the real possibility that you can develop a unique vision, even when it seems like the most impossible thing to do. I know, as I too struggle with the questions, challenges, and failures that are inevitable when you push yourself outside the comfort zone.
“Do one thing everyday that scares you” – Elanor Roosevelt
I’m also keenly aware of the potential influence I can have on others, and this motivates me to make a difference, and challenge others in a positive way. Inspiring someone to see the world with a different perspective is a feeling I really can’t describe, and regardless of whether I have actually done this or not is irrelevant, what is important for me is the awareness that this is what matters. All of this may seem rather idealistic, as I have thought many times, yet when someone comes up to me after a talk and tells me I have inspired them, or given them a new perspective, or simply made them feel better about their photography. that is quite powerful and real in my mind.
I continue to be influenced and inspired by so many great photographers and artists, past and present, so it is with much honesty and humbleness that I begin all of my talks with the statement that I am nothing more than a passionate student. And for me, there is no greater teacher than nature and its infinite subtlety, beauty, and ability to inspire us to reach for something greater than ourselves.
“When the student is ready,the master appears.” – Zen Saying