Monday, October 26, 2009

Observer vs. Photographer

As an artist I am an observer by nature. I watch how people walk, how they move, facial expressions; I watch colors on the water, or a sun setting, or how the wind affects the color of grass when it is blown. Artists watch so they can better record or interpret what they see into a different medium like painting or drawing. Classically I am trained to take everything in.

This year however that has taken a dramatic change. When you become a photographer you live in moments, moments that you capture in that one perfect shot. I find that whenever I have the camera in my hand instead of stepping back and soaking something in I am anxious with the camera pressed to my face to capture what I am seeing at that exact moment.

Over our vacation to the Grand Canyon we met an older very well traveled gentlemen who happened to not only be a bird expert but also an amateur photographer. We ended up having an hour long wonderful conversation about the role of an observer verses the role of a photographer. How it is hard to observe something and truly sink into it while you are constantly trying to anticipate the next shot, how you have to work very hard as an artist of both crafts in order to find a balance that works.

I think that I have to make that a conscious goal when I go out with my camera from now on. I have to work on the balance between observer and recorder. Mr. Rogue and I decided to turn off the cameras for the four hour drive between Zion National Park and Las Vegas so we could remember clearly what it was like before we picked up the camera, how things would just live vividly recorded in our memory rather than a photograph. I learned to appreciate the silence of my thoughts and to sink into moments left unrecorded to anyone but me.


paul peggy zeus said...

What a wonderful insight to photography. You have such a clever mind, I'd like to see you get back into your art mode and pick up a paint brush again.

Ivy said...

That's what I love about you. You are a true philosopher. You don't just live your life; you life it very deliberately.

Ivy said...

Oh, geez! Major spelling error ruined my touching comment. Meant to say, "you LIVE it very deliberately!" Sorry! It's been that kind of week. Not sure I could spell my own name at this point... Love you!

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