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What If?

It’s all too easy for anyone today to hang a photo exhibition and call themselves an artist. But that title, available to anyone who commits to hard work, has to be earned.

Your commitment to your voice is what makes the difference, giving your imagination the space it needs to dream.

To say “what if?”

It lets your ideas flow more freely without as much self-criticism or fear.

That my friends, is the sole reason to pursue landscape photography. Maybe not at first, maybe not for years, but eventually that has to be the reason. Because if it isn’t, you will fail to connect to your viewers in a way that matters.

You must be invested in your work, totally and fully. That can only happen when you photograph for yourself. It took me many years to realize that, not only as a photographer, but as a musician. Your work has to be about you, not what others think of you.

To me, landscape photography is about self-exploration. The more I photograph a place, the more I discover about that place and about myself.

It’s humbling, but so important for your voice, and your long term creative happiness.

“The human imagination is infinitely powerful and profound. it allows each person to bring to their work of art something that is unique to him or her.” John Loori

Passing Storm, Hudson River

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.” – Joseph Campbell

Making vs Taking

Marsh Lines, Acadia National Park

“Creativity is imagination and imagination is for everyone.” Paul Arden

As I walked along this marsh in Acadia National Park, many photo opportunities jumped out at me. But I challenged myself to exclude as much as I possibly could. Why? Because a strange visual thing happens when you limit your viewpoint and focus your concentration on an isolated area, it frees you to see more. 

I struggled with this idea for many years, and often gave in to my overriding instinct to capture the wider scene. But I’m slowly learning to give nature more time, and giving is always better than taking, especially when we are engaged with “taking pictures.”

When we’re focused on taking, that leaves little time and attention for what really makes a difference in developing vision. A mindful awareness that lets the details speak, the colors sing, and the mystery of each moment reveal itself. Then you can go inwards to find the vision that compels you to make an image.

There is no room for “taking photographs” this way. Instead you enjoy the process of making photographs because it becomes personal and meaningful.

Smelling the Fresh Air

Olympus E-M1, f/8@ 1/60 sec, 57mm, ISO 200

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” – Erich Fromm

Spring Clouds, Hudson River

Olympus OM-D E-M1, f/8 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 200, 4 images stitched in Lightroom 6

“Nothing is ever the same twice because everything is always gone forever, and yet each moment has infinite photographic possibilities.” – Michael Kenna