Love and Photography

Hello friend! Today I want to write about something that all photographs should have, and that’s a genuine love for the subject matter. Every great photograph was made out of love, not hate. It’s my love for other human beings that keeps me motivated to make photographs.

Learning to Love

All of life is learning how to love despite the obstacles in our way. Our world is never going to be the pillar of justice that we want it to be, and our neighbors are never going to provide that perfect community that we desire 100% of the time. We have just enough imagination to hope for perfection, and the universe denies us. Despite all of this we can still love one another, we can still enjoy each other’s company regardless of our imperfections. I think one of the most important things that we learn in school is to be around one another and to learn to work together. The subjects are almost irrelevant, it’s learning to be a part of community, and learning to cooperate well that matters.

Love Connects Great Works of Art

I think love is the connecting thread between all great works of art. Love is intrinsic to great art. Art is an instrument to lessen the gap between people. In order to get into the viewer’s heart, or get them to have an emotional reaction to what they’re interacting with, the artist needs to be completely, unabashedly in love with the subject matter. Like Martin Luther King or Ghandi we need preach love in order to get other people to get behind our ideas.

I Love Newfoundland

I love Newfoundland, I love corner Brook, I love other people despite their imperfections. Even though the city may be a bit small, and even though people sometimes annoys me, I still love them because they’re able to provide me with everything that I do need. A place to stay, a friendly atmosphere, a community that I can be a part of, I honestly don’t think I need anything else. I want more, but I’ll always adjust my expectations towards something higher than what I have already. I may feel as though my life will be better with more money, more respect, more power, but all of that is transitory, all of that is just the products of highly evolved apes that are going to die soon anyway. I’m extremely grateful for the comforts that I’ve been lucky enough to have, and I’m glad I can work towards becoming a greater artist, but even that’s unnecessary. All I really need is food, family, and community.

How Photography Helps Me

Photography helps me communicate to others

I think photographs are one of the most important ways that humans communicate in the 21st century. Everybody speaks photographs. Growing up I was mostly apathetic and disinterested in the world around me. Photography, as well as the friends that I made and the books that I read, changed that.

How I got into photography

When I was in high school I took a communications technology course and one of the subjects was photography. Learning how cameras worked was fascinating. I loved making the final image look different with the shutter speed and aperture, I never took anything seriously I was just playing with the final image. I decided to ask my parents for a dslr for Christmas because I wanted to get into a photography program after high school. I was lucky enough that they bought me one and after that I kept on practicing and seeing what could be done. The camera gave me an excuse to go for long walks, something that I still love doing to this day. I’d get bored and to relieve that boredom I’d walk around trying to find something to photograph. Being curious about the world is very therapeutic for me. I think once we stop being curious then we start to get bored and jaded. This is how photography helps me, by giving me an excuse to do some childish exploring, to look around and be curious. To find something worth remembering.

Learning from the masters

Then I took a history of photography course saw the real master photographers. I still remember seeing Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of a man on a bicycle in France and it was like a veil was lifted over my head. I never knew such a thing could be made with a camera. The way everything works so perfectly together it was like all of the philosophers that I was studying converged into a photograph. The existentialists were the philosophers that I was reading at the time and they were also the writers that influenced Cartier-Bresson. It was only natural that his photographs show the human race. Seeing the beauty of other people in this way really changed the way I perceived the world. It helps me to get out of feeling cynical, something that’s easy to fall into. Art reminds me that life has moments that are worth remembering. Seeing the potential for a good photograph is what makes me more interested in the people and the world around me.

Thoughts on Inspiration

Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about one of the main things that keeps me determined to create. whether that be making photographs or writing blog posts this bit of advice keeps me focused and encouraged. One time I was browsing the internet for “research” (let’s face it, I was procrastinating) and someone said that “Amateurs wait for inspiration, the pros just get to work. This has been one of the most important ideas I’ve come across recently. It’s so true, if I only created work when I was inspired then I wouldn’t have a quarter of the photographs I do now, I wouldn’t have started this blog, and I wouldn’t have presented my work in exhibitions.

I think if you have a creative goal that you want to achieve then this is the golden rule for making it happen. As long as you continue to practice it’ll only be a matter of time before your work gets good enough and someone will want to present it. Vincent Van Gogh spent his whole life without seeing any huge success. If he let that stop him then he wouldn’t of made more than two or three paintings. Greatness requires tenacity.

I find that whenever I’m taking photographs as soon as I get bored or tired I tell myself that if I stick with it for a little while longer then I’ll have a much greater chance of creating something good. The vast majority of my favorite photographs are taken at the tail end of a photowalk, after at least an hour or so of trying to make something worthwhile. I’ve been reading a bit about how people go into the “flow state” and consistent deliberate practice is always the first thing on the list. Second is that it only occurs after a certain amount of time practicing.

So let’s forget about this concept of “inspiration”. I think wishing for inspiration is a flawed idea, it may technically exist, we’ve all felt a drive to do something that was sparked by innate “inspiration”, but to rely on this for doing the hard work that goes into making a good piece of work is just unrealistic. One of my favorite youtubers by the name of CGPgrey once said that he doesn’t believe in the idea of free will, he only believes in structure. I may not entirely agree but I do think there’s a lot of truth to it, if we don’t structure our lives according to our goals then we’re in essence structuring ourselves to procrastinate.

So to wrap things up if you have a creative goal that you want to achieve don’t wait for “inspiration” just go out and start working on it!

Are We Seeing the Same Thing?

Hello everyone! Today I want to write about photography interpretations. I read somewhere that photography is one of the few universal languages, everybody speaks photographs. I love photography because it can transport the viewer into another place in time, into another place in the world. But photography is ambiguous, it inherently lacks concrete expression, it can say something a little bit different to everyone. Lots of people will look at a beautiful landscape photograph and say it’s boring, a lot of people will look at a dark and depressing social documentary photography and say it’s interesting. What I find fascinating is that the history of photography is one of rich communication without the use of common definitions, only objects and symbols taken out of their place in reality and placed alongside each other in the form of a photograph.

Of course there are some interpretations that are more correct than others, but photographs intrinsically can’t “speak” they can only (re)present/distort the thing in front of the camera. If you consider art to be the transition of ideas from one person to another than every time someone looks at the thing on the wall then something a little bit different happens every time. We all have unique upbringings, someone that grew up in the countryside may feel a lot differently about a photograph taken of a field than someone who has never seen that particular place in their life. These two people may be seeing the same thing but their viewpoints on the world make them see it differently.

Every time I have an exhibition of my photographs I learn that the ones that other people love are rarely the ones that I love. Most often the ones that I think are “just good enough” are the photographs that other people find to be their favorite. Perhaps as artists we should relinquish control over which photographs the world gets to see because our bias as the artist means that we can rarely understand what other people are going to like. But at the same time I feel it’s the artist's job to forget about other people's opinions and create works of art that pleases themselves. I guess it’s just yin and yang, We need to constantly switch between the two ideals, realizing that too much of either is a bad thing. One of the great things about photography is that it speaks a little bit differently to everyone. This is what’s so interesting about photography or any visual art. Visual art has the power to communicate in a way that is unique, it speaks through shapes and form. I think part of the fun is figuring out just how much we as visual artists can stretch the limits of conversation, using such difficult means.

My New Passion for Writing

Hello everyone! I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently, not just about my life or about photography but writing everything that comes to mind, book ideas, movie ideas, theater ideas. One day I want to achieve at least one of these things. I really feel like writing is becoming a new creative outlet for me just as much as photography. All because one day I decided I wanted to start this blog. It’s funny because I never thought writing would evolve into such a passion. Now I keep a journal with me as much as I can. Typing is better for “getting in the zone” because it allows me to rapidly push out my thoughts whereas with writing I’m just a little bit slower, which isn’t a bad thing. Taking a little bit of extra time to think about what I’m trying to express can be helpful when it comes to figuring out the best words to use. Although I’ve never tried shooting film a lot of people say it’s beneficial because it slows them down, makes them think more. I guess when you get down to it the two mediums are a lot more similar than they are different. They both lend themselves to storytellers, they’re both outlets for the creator, both of them have the power to change the audience's viewpoint about the world. I think I’ll always be a passionate photographer, but this newfound passion for writing may be a sign that my life may change direction in a way that I can barely foresee right now. I’m only 21 and there are very few people whose life remains on the same track from their twenties throughout their life. Anyway there’s no point in trying to peer into the crystal ball of the future. I’ve gotta think about the now and figure out how I’m going to make it the best present it can be. Here’s a photo I took years ago when I was in photography school and was still learning about macro photography.