Raymond Carver wrote, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”; Haruki Murakami wrote, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”; and in the few paragraphs below, I talk about what I talk about when I talk about photography.
In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard wrote that, “…beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” The question is this: How do we get to “be there”? Throughout my photographic career I’ve believed in preparation. In the studio I run lighting tests and try different backgrounds. On location shoots I survey the area to be photographed and then plan how to light it and if there is a subject, where to place them. Prepare, observe and act. These are the rituals I employ. But there is an added ingredient for a successful shoot. That added something, is to forget everything. Be in the moment. The Dillard quote comes from her account of seeing a mockingbird hurtling toward earth when, at the final second, it opened its wings and settled lightly to the ground.. So how does this incident of a mockingbird fit into photographing urban landscapes? Just as there is an instant when the mockingbird rights itself and gently lands on terra firma, there is also an instant when a photograph comes together. Minor White called it “previsualization”. For Cartier-Bresson it was the “decisive moment”. Buddhism speaks of being “mindful”. By whatever name, the goal is to see and be in the moment. I find these images of man-made monuments to be full of wonder. This body of work for STRUCTURE is a meditation. Each image is a meditation. Each meditation was a concentrated mindfulness. Each moment of mindfulness was timeless. It is the photographer’s job to document that moment when “beauty and grace are performed.” It’s the least we can do. [Official Website]
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