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