Friday, December 14, 2012

PhotoTao Card #12

Card #12

Providing for the Soul
The senses are of no use to an unhappy
person.  Care for your soul and let your
senses enjoy what you feel.
- Exercise -
Great writers become great, in part, by reading
great writing.  Great photographers surround 
themselves with great photographs.  Go to a 
museum's photographic galleries.  Bring a
notebook and jot down impressions, feelings
and reactions.  Collect books of your favorite
photographers and analyze what in their work 
appeals to you  All these impressions will
sift into your unconscious and impact the
images you make.

   I spend a great deal of time looking at the great masters of the photographic medium.  It was my study of Paul Strands work in the Outer Hebrides that led me there in 2005.  It was his approach to portraiture that greatly influenced my series, First Person Rural: a portrait of a Maine town.  But a word of caution is advisable here. Bernice Abbot (another wonderful photographer) once said:

"There are many teachers who could ruin
you.  Before you know it you could
be a pale copy of this teacher or that
teacher.  You have to evolve on your own."

   So, study the masters, chew on them, digest what they have to offer then spit them out!  You have to find your own way and you will. I've always told my students that within each person is a style, an approach that is uniquely theirs.  They just need to let it come out.

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