Saturday, August 17, 2013

The A, B, C's of Contemplative Photography - E

E is for Evoke (and also for Emphasis and Essence and Educe and...)

   "To summon or call forth; to re-create imaginatively..."

   When I first picked up the camera again in 2005 my interest was in documentary photography.  It was the work of Paul Strand that brought me to the Outer Hebrides.  I may have arrived  a documentary photographer but I left a contemplative one.

   The documentary photographer describes the world around them in an impartial way; the contemplative photographer evokes a very different world.  Whereas the former is a detached and objective eye behind the lens, the latter is heartfelt co-conspirator with the landscape.  It is a world of difference.

   When a photographer evokes something in the landscape they are drawing out some essential element that is contained within it but not immediately obvious.  By the way they frame the image, the way they subtly emphasize tones or shadow, the image passes from being merely a recording of the perceived landscape to an image that draws out its spirit.  It is a much more difficult process because it takes a lot of thinking before hand, before the finger tip presses the shutter release button.  It takes patience and, just as important, it takes the desire to see the world in this way.


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