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Oct 11, 2017
The Long and Short of It
Oh goodness. My last blog post was long on some things and short on others.
Long - in general. I had several ideas competing for space in my head, and I made lots of random connections. LOL - that's definitely the way my brain works!
The short of it? Short on explanation, and some readers asked me to "explain more, please," specifically in regard to how I find, define, and see beauty in my work as a photographer.
By definition: "A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight."
Whoa. It's virtually undefined, right?
Everyone's aesthetic sense is different, though admittedly most people share a similar beauty aesthetic, especially within cultures. Like so many things, our standards of beauty are shaped by our cultural upbringing.
But, let's face it, every single person has his or her own ideas of what beauty is and isn't, thank goodness! You might think that would make it challenging for an artist; but, I don't let that worry or deter me.
I know I can't please everyone, and only those with an aesthetic similar to mine will love my work. And that's okay!
When I take a photo of something, it's not because I'm thinking about whether or not other people will love the subject or whether it will sell. I take it because something compels me. (Though it should go without saying, when I'm working with paying clients I definitely care what they think!).
For instance, the header photo on this blog post. It was a combination of things that caught my attention - the stark parking lot in a place where parking is at such a premium, combined with the amazing clouds in the sky, and the fun, colorful artwork on the walls all juxtaposed with the garage doors, dumpster, and fence.
I take the photographs that speak to my heart and hope that others find an emotional connection to the work.
A beautiful sunrise seen through the branches and flowers of a Dogwood Tree - Freedom Park Trail, Atlanta, Georgia
That's how I define success - when others feel emotionally connected to my work, and, well...yes...it's definitely validating when people feel connected enough to buy the work as well.
As far as beauty, some subjects have obvious wide appeal - the beach at sunset for instance. The amazing colors, the sun setting over the water, the reflections - all make for a great subject that, for most viewers, elicits a positive emotional response.
The beach is an entire experience beyond the beauty of a sunrise and sunset. It’s the sound of the waves and the seagulls circling the sand. It’s the smell of the sea. It's the feel of the sun on my shoulders and the water lapping at my feet. It’s the way the sand squishes between my toes. Looking at a beach photo triggers memory and emotion which adds to the experience of beauty.
And it's a shared experience for all those who love the beach.
Other Subjects are Less Obvious.
If a subject catches my attention visually, elicits an emotion, and fires my imagination, then it's worthy of a photograph and will have some essence that speaks to my beauty aesthetic.
The abandoned payphone pictured in my last blog post repeatedly caught my attention as I walked by it. I liked the grittiness and the reality. The phone hangs on the side of an old market in my neighborhood. The market has been there a while and could probably use a facelift, like the phone; but, I like it the way it is, and I hope it doesn't change.
The phone is an ordinary object that has seen better days, but when I look at it, I see a secret waiting to be told or a long-forgotten story, and I feel compelled to photograph it. Where others may see an eyesore, I see uncommon beauty and an interesting story to tell.
An abandoned office in an old train yard - Atlanta, Georgia. Don't you wonder how it all got left like this? There's a story here...if only I knew it!
There is Beauty Everywhere
My photography has helped me to find beauty in the unusual and in subjects that may not be traditionally viewed as beautiful - a broken payphone, an abandoned building, a flower struggling to push its way up through the asphalt next to the street.
A flower struggling to grow through the asphalt by the side of the road
I love "traditional" beauty too or you wouldn't see so many sunrises and sunsets gracing my website and Instagram galleries.
But, I like the challenge of looking for something with a different aesthetic - an old car, a retro sign, a busted up payphone. I'm always on the search, and my style and abilities are ever-evolving. That's what keeps it interesting, and that's also why I love travel photography and traveling - so I can see the world through different eyes in places so far removed from mine.
And I hope you'll keep coming along on this ever-evolving journey with me!
Please feel free to use the icons at the top of the post to share my blog and art on your social media.
Which photos in this post speak to your beauty aesthetic? Feel free to comment below!
See you between the raindrops!
You can find the photographs in this post here.
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