I’m really pleased to share that InsideOut Magazine has included me in their second annual Art Special, part of the July/August 2009 issue. It is a well written and produced periodical, and the quality of the printing, with great color and detail, has always caught my attention. Titled “Art & The River”, the article features seven artists “who have dedicated enormous amounts of creative time to the task of celebrating the river’s beauty, and its defense”.
In addition to images of me and my work, it has a VERY edited part of an interview conducted at their offices in Athens, NY a few months ago. After the photo shoot, I sat down with managing editor Amanda Schmidt, and she asked me several unrehearsed questions while she recorded my responses into an iPod with an external microphone. While most interviews start with the normal and expected questions, such as “how did you get started”, these questions caught me by surprise in a positive way.
“Why do you photograph the river” and “how do you feel when you’re working” made me think about the many reasons I love what I do, and putting that into words was the only difficult part. When you’re passionate about something, sharing that enthusiasm becomes almost habitual, so I was in familiar territory where sometimes I have to be told when to stop. I gave several reasons, then we moved on to other questions. Yet after the interview was over, and I drove to my home 60 miles away, I had the nagging feeling that I really hadn’t given the best response to the first question.
I photograph the valley because it is what I know best, and like a close friend or a favorite song, there is something about the familiar that feels good, natural, comforting, and reminds me how good life can be. While this specific response didn’t get into the article, it stuck with me the most, and it’s one I’ll think about more and more as I continue to photograph both local and non-local landscapes. Why non-local? Because I know that until a place feels as familiar as a good friend, I will not be able to make the kinds of images I prefer, where my feelings become more important than the scene itself.
Workshop students know I repeat this over and over again, and I believe it is a major part of growing as a landscape photographer. Regardless of how technology improves the tools we use, it will always come down to the reason and purpose behind your images, and those that mean something to you will mean something to others.