She surveys her sward
It has been said that if you’re taking pictures for the “likes” or the “faves” you’re taking pictures for all the wrong reasons. Well, maybe. A while back someone asked me “why” I’m a photographer. At the time I responded with something trite like, “it’s fun” or my standard refrain, “I’m too lazy to work and too honest to steal.”
When I thought about the “why” of taking pictures, a few other feelings began to surface. And as I sorted it out, one thing stood out. I like to please people. Oh, photography is a tool in the survival toolkit and I do things to make a living so I can keep a roof overhead and some food around.
But a real trigger to keep taking pictures are the reactions people have. When someone looks at a picture and smiles; I like that. When someone looks at a picture and it brings a memory or story back; I like that. When someone looks at a picture and says, “That doesn’t look like me!” my heart sinks.
Not that a negative reaction is always bad. Back in my journalism days a picture that pissed someone off or forced an issue made me very happy. See, it’s the reaction that’s satisfying. The desired reaction, be it pleasure or something else, is motivating for me.
So when one of my images happens to trip the Explore algorithm, I get a nice kick out of the extra views, faves and comments. And I’m going to enjoy it.
Somewhere near Lone Rock we crossed the Wisconsin River right at sunrise.
Ben at the 2015 Stoughton Jr. Fair. He went on to win the championship that day with his Duroc barrow.
What happens when your daughter comes home for the weekend and you hand her your brand new, just out-of-the box camera? She wanders around the yard snapping pictures, of course. Then when I post a few to Flickr; guess what? Her picture gets Explore! Chip off the old block?
Aforementioned daughter later that day on the way to her wedding shower.
Sometimes you need to take a look at yourself
Sometimes you just have to have a cute fix.
Back in February went to the Kenosha lakefront to take pictures of frozen Lake Michigan. Snagged this picture of John Adduci’s aluminum sculpture “My Pi” there in Harbor Park. Saved it to have for 3.14.
Turner Beach with the Out of Focus Guy. Missed his expression earlier. Rain was bearing down on us, he had his back to the waves, and we had this odd piece of driftwood stuck in the sand. He used his face to interpret the situation. I snapped the picture and his feet got washed over by the water. At least it’s warm in Florida.
Did a little photo story for John Deere Furrow a few years back about Smude’s cold press sunflower oil and of course they don’t use all of them. Always liked this shot.
She marched through the door and right over into the lighting set while the rest of the group filtered in for their head and shoulder pictures. There were 24 people and she was going first.
“You don’t want to do this do you?”
“You want it over with.”
“Well, I’m going to take good care of you.”
The people I work with are not of the red carpet, Hollywood set. They’re not likely to have personal trainers and managers. If they need something, they go get it themselves. Many of them have physical employment or own their own businesses or both. Having a picture taken is the last thing in the world they’d normally do. And yet, here she was, Ellen, for a head and shoulders picture as part of an association she belongs to. The picture was required of all board members.
At the top of my mind in these situations is the notion that people have something sweet and positive about themselves that I need to try to find and pull out. Ellen is a very nice person who gives generously of her time and talents so other people can have opportunities. So with limited time and a small set the challenge is to create the chance for Ellen to put her best foot forward and for me to capture it in the camera.
From my side of the camera, when all is said and done, I always feel like I let Ellen down. If I’d worked a little longer, harder, smarter perhaps I’d get closer to the goal. I feel strongly about not creating a new and unknown person with technique and software. But I do feel strongly about using the tools to help bring the person I see in Ellen up to the surface to share with everyone.