What is it about photography which draws me into its real with such gusto and passion.
I sometimes ponder this question because I feel like I need to find my own answer. Yet a satisfactory answer always seams out of reach to me. I feel as if im searching for something along my photographic journey. Most people will not understand and some might think me odd. However I think it very normal. In fact I think most people search for answers in life. Some find it in religion or philosophy, some in helping others, some people find it in careers and work, others search yet never find and a few get lost along the way in alcohol and drugs. Yet many people, perhaps most people, search for something. For some reason my search has taken me down a path of photographing natures landscapes and beautify. We are all different.
Photographing a landscape brings a sense of balance into my life. It for fills many needs in me; a need to build and create something, a need to be closely in touch with those things in life which are real and natural; I think it is a counter balance to what can be a very artificial and unnatural world in which we live and work. Photography fills a need in me to escape and have time-out… time for me. It for fills a yearning to wander, explore and discover. It for fills a need in me to say “Hey, our world is not all bad” in fact it is a very beautiful and good world in which to live in. It for fills a need to leave a mark on the world after I am gone, that somehow my beautiful photographs are evidence that I was here and I had something to say and to share with others. My life is not just about work and play, there was something more.
Sometimes I look at people I know, who to me appear to be very shallow and have no depth in their life. They appear to be happily living lives I see as very superficial. One side of me is envious. However I could never live a life so wafer thin. I need depth, it is my keel and my compass.
What is it about photography which draws us into its realm with such passion.
I ponder this question often. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need to find my own answers. You might like to share your own thoughts below.
So far, a satisfactory answer always seems out of reach to me. I feel as if I am searching for something unknown along my photographic journey; that the journey has some kind of purpose.
Many people will not understand and some might think me odd. However, I think it is very normal.
It started as a modest drawing in Kurt Mottweiler’s sketchbook. It became a beautiful bespoke instrument; The P.90, a hand crafted lensless, medium format camera made from a blend of cherrywood, custom made brass and other carefully chosen materials.
The P.90 is a very limited edition camera designed by an artist, for artists. A work of art with which to make art. However, it is also a camera designed to be used, where function meets a beautiful aesthetic for a memorable picture making experience.
From his Oregon studio workshop Kurt makes his hand built cameras with love and passion. They will no doubt become valuable collector items over time; much like an early Leica. Perhaps they will become the ‘Stradivarius’ of pin hole cameras?
… commitment and purpose meets with an emptiness inside. Try as we might, on some days it is a struggle to conjure up any creative vision or energy to inject into our photography.
Now, I have learnt to slow down and even stop, with out guilt. For me, it is the “without guilt” thing which makes a huge difference in how quickly I can bounce back with creative vigour.
I spent a few days wondering the sand hills north of Sydney a few months back. I lacked any real motivation so I just decided I would enjoy walking and if I made no pictures that would be ok.
I relaxed and took the pressure off myself.
I walked and just enjoyed the warm sun; must have walked for an hour or more without even thinking of my camera.
I have this habit of framing and arranging what I see as I walk. I look at everything I see and break it down into compositions. It can be exhausting at times. But this day I did none of that.
I just let my mind zone out. It was so relaxing… then I saw something that just grabbed my attention. It was nothing too remarkable, just light on the sand, but just relaxing had put me back into the zone. I was ready to make photographs again. I spent the next few days capturing so many wonderful photographs on film. Had I tried too hard I think I would have missed many of these images. I would probably have gone home early.
My learning for myself: don’t try so hard.
Some more photographs from this sand dune series can be found here.
Strange as it may sound, one of the limitations we have as photographers, are our eyes.
Our eyes are highly functional. They simply see what is in front of us. Therefore, the temptation to photograph only what we can physically seeis very powerful. In fact, this is what most new photographers assume they need to do; you see something nice, so you photograph it. Simple.
The results as I discovered, are often sterile photocopier images; nice pretty pictures, well exposed, but nothing more.
My early attempts at photography were frustrating in this regard, but it lead directly to the most significant step I took in learning how to become a photographer; a realisation that I was not seeing things in the same way that experienced photographers saw them.