Photography and the Artist

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed. Ansel Adams

morning everglades 148I find it pretty amazing that a renowned photographer, whose works most everyone would recognize, identifies emotion as being critical to a great photograph. Of course the paper and specks of ink don’t have emotions hard wired somewhere among the specks; it is the photographer who determines what emotion those specks relay to the observer.

This excites me because it makes me feel like an artist. I understand that, like all artisans, I have to work to improve technique, knowing how to use equipment and software to express my vision. However, the technical components are the tools to do what I really love, attempting to capture all that I see as beautiful. Photography becomes the act of defining beauty.

I have stopped at this place in the Everglades National Preserve three times, and each time I felt its beauty. I breathed in the quiet. I was stilled by the contrast of light and shadow. The way the trees and water vied for space beckoned me in. The scene and I played with each other as I worked to capture what it was saying to me.

It spoke of much more than emotional pleasure. It spoke of the identity of the Everglades, telling me how important it is to wildlife. I heard it speak of life as this vast river of fresh water flows to the ocean. I heard it beg for protection. I heard with my thinking and my emotions. These were intimate moments spent together.

I know, professionally, that awareness of emotion is very important for maintaining human relationships. Emotional intelligence helps us to hear and respond to others. Emotional awareness helps us navigate the landmines that are scattered in our relationships so we can remain connected. Hearing each other’s joy and pain brings us closer together. Attending to emotions help us know each other, to see the beauty in our selves.

I am learning how to use this same emotional intelligence to become intimate with my non-human environment. It is making photography the art form and me the artist.

This post was inspired by The Bardo’s Group, who are celebrating interNational Photography Month and Michelle at the Daily Post who put up the theme “Work of Art”.

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36 Comments »

    • I do have a hard time posting a photograph without adding my words. My Silent Sunday posts are an exercise in frustration sometimes. πŸ™‚

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    • What a nice thing to say – thank you, Nora. I have found purpose in retirement in my photography and writing so it is fun – and doubly nice when others enjoy my work.

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    • Thanks. I think I will print it to see if it would look good framed. I love this spot and really enjoy the photos I have of it.

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  1. This is a beautiful photograph, Pat.
    I actually prefer to post images with few or no words. In that way one can make their own interpretation/story.
    However…some people have a wonderful way of weaving words into their images (like you!), and that is truly a gift.

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    • Thanks, Lisa. I am finding that I like the writing as much as the photography. What I enjoy most is finding photos that support the subject of my writing.

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  2. Gorgeous setting and location! I would love to drink in that beauty in person. Ansel had the gift. I still can’t get over how some of his photographs really do seem alive even after all these years. Emotion, indeed! Great post. πŸ™‚

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