Thursday, April 18, 2013

Color Work

I am knee deep in a new book, The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes, by Andy Karr and Michael Wood.  On their website, Seeing Fresh, Karr and Wood define contemplative photography as "a method for seeing and photographing the world in fresh ways, to reveal richness and beauty that is normally hidden from view. Instead of emphasizing subject matter or the technical aspects of photography, the contemplative approach teaches you to see clearly, and make images based on fresh perceptions." 

If you know anything at all about me and my photography,  you know that I take pictures of people, places, and things that touch my heart. When I take a picture of a tree, it looks like a tree.  When I take a picture of my children, I seek images that represent them as their truest selves. When I take a picture of a scene, landscape, or still life, I try to convey textures and colors and shapes that bring the viewer to the picture. When I thumb through books of images or visit galleries and museums, I usually skip past the abstract type pictures, because they don't seem to speak to me.  But now I am reconsidering . . .

The practice of contemplative photography has three parts - connecting with the flash of perception, working with visual discernment, and forming the equivalent of what we have seen. I will be the first to admit that I do not fully understand these stages, though I am open to learning. But I do easily relate to the authors' views on Art in Everyday Life.  "Ordinary experience is the raw material of our photographic art." 

The first assignment is to shoot color images - in a simple, open, and clear way.  The instructions included quite a list of things not to do like do not shoot graffiti or graphic designs, do not shoot words or letters or numbers, do not shoot flowers and nature, do not include anything extra. 

I've been trying to seeing clearly and watching for flashes of color.  I'm not sure whether I love these kinds of pictures, but I am absolutely positive that I love the process of seeing this way. 

skyful of umbrellas

"We are not interested in the unusual, but the usual seen unusually."   -- Beaumont Newhall


fancy cats

"Seeking extraordinary perceptions and special artistic experiences leads us to overlook the riches that surround us . . . Instead of looking elsewhere for nourishment, we can live artistic, elegant lives, appreciating the details of our ordinary existence."

house viewed through fence



"Living artistically means appreciating things just as they are, in an intimate, unbiased way."


vintage sewing machine and thread

This practice provided an opportunity for me to make friends with myself.  Quiet time alone with no distractions, just seeing and shooting. In this solitude my creativity flourishes.

1 comment:

  1. The umbrellas picture is *amazing* and only I know how hard it was to get that shot. I see and snap; you contemplate (think) and that is good. I would never have gotten that shot because I wouldn't have thought of it.

    I love all these but I think the house through the old fence the best. And today we took pictures of faucets! It doesn't get any better than that!

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