Short Story of the Day

One day I was walking around with my camera, trying to make a good with no luck. I was  taking a lot of stupid photographs of obvious subjects, making sure everything was well composed and sharp, not that it made a difference because the subjects that I was photographing were so boring that it puts me to sleep just thinking about it.

Then as I’m walking along I notice something interesting. Three people walking towards me, their shadows look interesting reflected off the pavement. I start to feel as though a photograph might come together so naturally I become very nervous. Should I take the photograph? What if they get mad at me? Is it even worth it? Then I remember some advice I read from the Eric Kim blog, it went something along the lines of “If I’m ever scared of a situation, I MUST take the photograph. Scary situations make good photographs” With this in mind I raise my camera to my face and take a picture of their shadows.

Then one of the people whom I’ve photographed (technically I photographed her legs but minor details aside) comes up to me and said “Did you take my picture?” And I responded “Yes! I thought that the way your shadows came together on the pavement looked really cool so I thought it would make a good picture.” Then I showed them the image on the back of my screen and told them I was going to rotate it in order to make it look like there was three shadow figures walking along the ground. What happened next surprised me, they looked at me, smiled and said “Oh! That’s really cool.” Then I thanked them and we went about our day.

The moral of the story is don’t be afraid to take people's picture. Street photography is a time honored tradition that lots of people get enjoyment from. This may seem  odd but in my experience I’ve been thanked more often than chastised for taking someone’s picture.

What Makes a Great Photograph?

There’s a silent conversation that occurs when a viewer looks at a truly great photograph. The artist and viewer communicating like a spiritual whisper that comes from the object. There’s a certain magical quality emanating from a photograph that was taken by someone who’s on the same wavelength as you. When it’s done extremely well it’s almost like the photographer undressed themselves in a silent, symbolic way that can only be understood by looking at how they arranged the world through their camera. The viewer see’s something in the final image that makes them feel in a very raw way where the only thing that can be focused on is the photograph. This visceral experience is like the friction of a finger on a crystal glass with wine in it, like there’s music coming from the photograph, harmonious reverberations from a lifeless object combined with human senses.

Why I’m inspired by Sebastiao Salgado

Hello friend. Today I want to talk about one of the many uses for photography, a tool to change the world. Photographs are capable of presenting the viewer a part of the world in order to make them feel something about what went on.

Social change is one of the most important uses for photography throughout its history.

One of my favorite practitioners of this kind of photography is Sebastio Salgado. Me and my family went to New York three years ago and during that time we saw Sebastiao Salgado’s Genesis series in the International Center for Photography. It was incredible. The photos were very large and beautifully printed. I never saw his work before that. It was an influential moment for me. After looking over the photos for hours (there were dozens, maybe a hundred of them), I bought his biography “From My Land to the Planet”. It was extremely interesting to read about his evolution from social documentary photography (he photographed refugees, displaced peoples, firefighters in Iraq oil fields etc.), to nature photography and life before civilization. He was sick of seeing what humanity could do after photographing refugees from Rwanda. He nearly died from the experience of being around so much death. I recently read shake hands with the devil by Romeo Dallaire, the commander of the UN forces before and during the genocide. I learned that this wasn’t an unusual thing to happen to people that visited Rwanda during the genocide, people broke down and couldn’t carry on. Salgado photographed the tragedies that needed to be seen in order for them not to be forgotten, now he photographs nature and the nearly eradicated ways of life that need to be seen so we don't forget there are alternate ways of living.

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It's important to recognize the power of photography by looking at those that have worked extensively in the craft.

Salgado inspires me immensely. I think it’s important to It’s important for photographers to think about what it is that they’re capturing. Through photographs we can educate the world, we can tell stories to future generations. What is it that you want to say?

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.