Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Visualization: a photographer's interplay with the landscape....

   There is a process in photography that is very often not covered in the "How To..." books.  It is the
The Epiphany
process of visualization...seeing in the mind's eye the completed photograph.  Now, this is something that takes experience in the medium, knowing what is possible and how best to achieve the final result.  It shouldn't discourage you if you are just starting out though.  It really involves training your mind to think in terms of final image.  When you look at a landscape, you mentally dissect it.  You ask yourself questions like, "What is it here that I want to record?" "What do I want to emphasize...what should I down play?"  

    This is why my practice of "visual listening" is so important in my process as a photographer.  It is the time I spend receiving the message of the landscape before I begin visualizing the final photograph.  Without this interplay with the landscape I am only applying my will to my subject rather that trying to make the final image a co-creation...a tribute to its subtleties and nuances.  

   This is also why journaling is so important in the process of contemplative photography.  It may be days or even weeks before you get back to the image.  What were you thinking when you were there in the landscape?  What was your internal reaction to the external event?  I knew, when I saw this landscape at the Abbey of Gethsemani, that it had to be in black and white.  I visualized it that way and I noted the different elements in my journal that I would later emphasize in the final image.  So, take your time and take notes!  Your immediate response in the field is worth far more than your remembrances of the event weeks later.

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