We made it! This is Part 10 of: “Finding Your Voice… 10 Days, 10 Concepts To Help You Find Your Photographic Voice.” Our final day! Wow, what a journey it’s been… and I feel like it’s only just begun. There’s SO much more to talk about! As a final wrap up to this round, I leave you with some thoughts on voice… story… and you.
IMAGES TELL THE STORY OF YOU
At the end of the day… or 10, 20, 30 or 70 years from now… your images will tell your story. What do you want them to say? Do you want to look at each one with fond remembrance and say “Ahhhh, I loved that day”, warmed by the care you took to include your favorite things into each one in your clearest voice? Or be sad and think” Dammit! Why didn’t I take a moment before I pressed the shutter?” (worse yet: “What was I THINKING??”).
As humans, we’re hardwired for stories. Thousands of years of cave paintings prove that, if nothing else does. Each of us is living our own story, guided by our preferences, our loves, our aversions, our faith, so many things. Every moment is its own story, woven into the giant story-tapestry of time that contain all the moments that came before – and all that come after.
Oh boy! It’s Day 8 in: “Finding Your Voice… 10 Days, 10 Concepts To Help You Find Your Photographic Voice.”
Today, we’re going to wrap ourselves around…
Shapes and Patterns
A world without shapes or patterns is pretty much a blob. Ditto bones. 😉
Shapes and patterns are definitely important elements to watch for – and potentially build compositions around. But when it comes to your artist’s voice, you have to take it deeper. What shapes and patterns do you just go nuts over? Any and all? Organic ones? Geometric ones? Shapes and patterns in nature? Architecture? All of the above?
After you work that out – then the even bigger question to ask is why? How do those particular patterns make you feel? What kind of story/statement does that shape make? These answers are important to know, because they’ll tell you how to compose your shot, whether to wait for warm light, pink light or low light. Is the statement stronger in black and white? To know the answer, you have to know what the statement IS in the first place. And that is all about you and your point of view… your voice.
Alice Herz-Sommer was the oldest living survivor of the Holocaust. She died this year at 110 years old.
That’s notable all by itself, but is not why I felt moved to make a post about her. It’s her relationship with music, which moved me to tears when I watched this video.
Not tears of sadness… but the ones that happen when I hear or see something SO RIGHT that my soul practically leaps to the heavens. It’s like a visceral response to divinity. That’s Alice. The fact that I hear music in my head when I photograph, that I often feel like I’m scoring a musical piece when I process a photo… that I could replace everything she says about music with photography and its source within me (so woven in with music in ways I haven’t ever been able to explain)… makes her story a song of my own spirit and soul.
I love post-processing photos. Since my approach to photography means creating my own vision or “take” on what I see, I have no problem processing a photo in dramatic directions and find it all incredibly satisfying. I was raised in an artistic family, so I guess that just got baked into me. By the same token, I was trained classically in photography, revere Nature and have learned that sometimes Nature does all the work for you. When that happens, you really shouldn’t mess with perfection.
Her friends thought her new doo was a tad overdone for everyday, although it definitely DID make a statement.
She assumed their stares were that of envy and admiration, so she struck the pose and imagined it immortalized in People magazine.
Sometimes nature is so very dramatic and glamorous. She’ll just go for it. Break out her finery and sweep into that sky like the MEGA star that she is.
I love it when she does that.
I caught her this day in her explosionary finale of an intricately choreographed dance that took about an hour or so to create. She was deliberate. Detailed. Left no swish unswirled, yet no one could say the effect was overdone. No, it was… perfect.
When the grand finale finally burst into living technicolor oranges and reds with just a touch of peachy goodness, I swore I could hear the final strains of Ravel’s Bolero. Oh my. It was dramatic. And most definitely glamorous.
My first visit there. I love that feeling of the first time… your heart quickens, your eyes get all sharp and darty at the new sights, even my stomach jumps around a little at the excitement of it all.
I’m big on the story too – and I love hearing them about the places I visit. Convict Lake was named after an incident in 1871, where a group ‘o thugs, er, ‘convicts’ escaped from prison in Carson City. That’s 200 miles away. So a buncha lawmen, er, a ‘posse’ chased those buggers all the way down here, where they had a shootout. The sheriff was killed, as was his Indian guide. They named the lake after the convicts, the mountain (Mt. Morrison) after the sheriff. Nobody named anything after the Indian guide, which strikes me as just pure ungrateful.
It was a moody, weathery day… kinda fitin’ with the story that goes with it. But I just went with the vibe and took this picture to share with y’all.
He was going out. He didn’t know when he would be back. Or even if he would. It was secret. Top secret.
The call came in on the untraceable phone. The message was in code.
Translation; grab the bag by the door and leave now.
He learned long ago to act first, question later. Which he did now.
But this time as he left, he looked back. Took a mental snapshot of door, the steps, the way the single lamppost draped light across the railing like a wing of an angel.
Like the woman he’d left in bed.
She’d awaken without him. And wonder why.
Isn’t this a nutty shot? So, I decided it’s Dr. Who’s traveling time lord bar. Cause I think Dr. Who must need a snort every now and then to unwind after a long day on the Time Lord time clock. And he sure wouldn’t want to run the risk of being stuck in some godforsaken dimension of No Fun At All, seeking said snortage. Hence the need for a time travelin’ Time Lord Bar. See, it’s time-tethered to the Tardis, thus always available. Genius.
I managed to snap this just as it was taking off, about to wink out of this particular time-space continuum. Who says digital cameras aren’t fast? Ha.
Yeaaahhhhh… welcome to Mental Movies by Karen. This is what a long day of recording incredibly dry narrations will do to a girl. Tall, cool one, anyone?
Glenshire Pond, August, 2010. The clouds were just breaking up from an afternoon thunderstorm. It seemed like everyone who lives at the Pond had set up camp on their decks or in their yards for this light show. People driving by were even stopping their cars and getting out to watch.
Yeah, it was that amazing.
I heard cheers, gasps, laughter, “Oh my god”s and “Did you see that?”s… and for the first time, actual applause for a sunset.
I guess mother nature really is the best show on earth.
I kinda feel like her staff photographer.
I love crazy old doors. What’s behind them? Who passes through them? How long have they been there? Now clearly, there’s alot going on with this one right here. It’s a storybook door. And judging by the individual frames on this door, the age old push me, pull me, hit me, hang me, shake me, beg me, dress me, undress me, implore me, bestow up on me, gimmegimmegimme lifestyle has been going on for quite some time now. But what is the whole story here? Who was the original artist? Who commissioned him? And why? I have no answer. This kinda bugs me. Do you know?
This was my first time in France, first gaze upon the Seine river – and first full view of this gorgeous city so full of art, history and promise.
It even had proper lighting. Heavenly. So I made it look the way it felt.
I couldn’t believe this sunset. People said it was unusual, but it was my first time in Paris, so how would I know? The thought did cross my mind; “Gee, it’s just like the Glenshire Pond!”. Then realized I’d probably committed some kind of mental crime de comparison.
The bridge is the Pont des Arts. It was a tit bit nippily in December when we were there. Snapping this shot in all my layers and full length down coat I could hardly imagine it – but during the summer it becomes a “studio en plein air” – a spot for painters, photographers, and other artists, and a picnic grounds for locals. Hey – let’s go there then! Wanna?
"Love your blog. I stop by for the photography, I linger for the philosophy."
Kelley Morgan, Portland OR
"A beautiful mind will produce beautiful results. And to say the least, yours is a beautiful mind! Thank you for your wisdom and your inner "speak," as they both produce true art from the heart …"
Joe Hudspeth, Prineville OR
"Thank you Karen. A wonderful story but only the tip of the iceberg, the bigger part below the water is all the thousands of photographers you have inspired to chart their own journey, I know as I am one of them."
"Karen, thank you for the wonderful two day post. Your insights are truly thought provoking. I have never been a teacher, nor will I ever be, but to see someone see the light is a wonderful moment. Thanks again."
"As usual, another terrific story. I’m glad I found you but I have to be honest. I didn’t find you on Google + but did on Scott Kelby’s “The Grid”. Thanks for the inspiration in both images and by the pen/keyboard."
"Gads-what a girl! Thanks for the story, it is beautiful."
"Awesome story Karen — I loved reading about your life transformed. Of course I loved the photography theme and the geek in me is forever curious about the power of tech and the power of social platforms. But … for me it is the arc of lives transformed that inspires. Thank you so much for sharing. See you on G+ and in the Arcanum!"