Tuesday, February 26, 2013


   "A photographer's files are in
a sense his autobiography."

-Dorothea Lange

Spinning Hands - 2010
   Photographers write their life story without words.  They speak volumes in a single image.  They encapsulate their personal experience within the confines of the photograph's frame.  When I found this quotation from Dorothea Lange, it was if a light suddenly illuminated my mind.  "Of course," I thought, "I am my images! Now, what do these images tell of my life as a photographer?"

   On this blog I have a small slide show I call, "My Journey So Far".  When I imported the images I gave no thought for putting them in any order, to plot out my "autobiography" in pictures.  But if I were to do that, what would I consider significant images in my development as a contemplative photographer?  And, more importantly, what would these images say about me?

   When you become famous as an artist and have worked for many, many years on your craft, a museum may mount a retrospective exhibition of your work...a visual autobiography.  I've been working on my craft for only eight years now since my "re-emergence" as a serious photographer  (I don't count my college years as a photography major...I did that only to become an art teacher.) and I'm certainly not famous by any definition of the term so it is highly unlikely MOMA will be mounting a retrospective of my work any time soon.  I think that the idea of creating a personal retrospective may be a worthwhile enterprise however. Over the months to come I will play around with this idea and see where it leads.  I certainly know which image I will begin with! (See my post, "The Contemplative and the Photographer.")  In the meantime, look through your photographic files and begin your "autobiography in images".  Here's a quote that may show you a reason to pursue this idea...

"We think of photographs as the captured past.
But some  photographs are like DNA.  In them
you can read your whole future."

-Anne Michaels

1 comment:

Andy Ilachinski said...

Pat, you've done it again; found a way to so poetically evoke an idea it took me many lecture slides to obfuscate! Take a look at pages 82-86 from a talk I gave in 2011: