A friend of mine, a world renowned doctor of pharmacology, once asked me a question with regards to my artistic photography; “What is your purpose?“. For decades, I have tried to understand, answer and pursue what that purpose has been. To visually see my feelings in images, that represent myself as a child and young adult, has given me a better connection, a deeper understanding, and a clearer meaning in my personal life. Even as I have become a photography dinosaur, still working in my “chemical darkroom” and still using film for all of my artistic work, I continue to seek images that represent and connect with my heart and soul. Making prints that emit light from the silver they are made from is as important today as it ever was in this digital age of ink and sensors. After being given clear guidance by a great teacher about creating art with my photography, my artistic quest to find wonderful images has never ceased and to this day remains amazingly strong. Currently, I teach a class in Artistic Photography at Brunswick Community College, where I encourage my students to connect with who they are through their photography and I too continue to ask them the same question; What is YOUR purpose?
Art is an expression of passion and creativity. As artistic photographers, allowing ourselves to open up and feel this passion and creative flow ties our art to who we are and what we see. This produces images that represent our emotions, our dreams, our fears and our life experiences.
When photographing, the focus is on a different kind of place than our own reality or existence. We try to connect with a place that we figuratively can’t see. It’s a world of sensing a presence, an entity that defies description. As artists, we are compelled to understand how to connect with this feeling and then follow and photograph it. We are driven to find the source, its power. When we do connect, there is a brightness far more brilliant than anything in this world and possesses a feeling like a river of water flowing through our soul. This is a love that can bring us to tears and soothe all of our fears, stresses and anxieties. It’s a moment of discovery that creates a calming like no other; your soul is at rest!
Then, in the very next moment, everything changes and another excitement comes. Although there is literally nothing there that embodies this feeling, an energy courses through our veins with a rush of adrenaline that literally leaves us breathless, yearning and hoping to just take one more wonderful image.
We have seen and taken a photograph that reaches us on an emotional level, a moment that touches us deeply and profoundly. This is the true language of artistic photography.