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Monday, August 5, 2013

f/8 and Be There...A Misnomer...

When Arthur Fellig otherwise known as Weegee was asked what it took to create a great photograph he simply said "f/8 and be there". Unfortunately that isn't all that it takes. He left out the creativity part of the equation. How to interact with one's subject to produce an "experience", not just a static photo that says "here it is".

When it comes to nature photography, too many of us are happy with the "here it is" photo. Here's a photo of a snowy owl, here's a photo of a bald eagle. The question is, what is that eagle feeling, how best can you bring out the feeling of tiredness and hunger in the snowy owl after its long migration without making it suffer for your art. That is the true measure of a photograph; the feelings that it can evoke in the viewer and how to convey what the subject is feeling.

My images are not the prime example of great wildlife photography, nor do I hold them out to be. However my task as of late has become the keen intent to bring out a) the emotion of the animals that I photograph, b) to bring the viewer into the photograph to see it on a more visceral level.



Unless you bring the photograph to life by trying to capture the emotions of the subjects, your photograph is a "here it is" proclamation...a dead photograph. Master Photographer Henri-Cartier Bresson stated very clearly: “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

There is something about nature that draws a person in - that makes the ordinary person feel at home. Whether it is a subliminal call to our wild ancestors or not, it is a visceral feeling - the kinship that we feel with our animal neighbours.

That is what I hope to capture in my photographs and will continue to strive for.

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