Going Digital and The Accidental Masterpiece

February 25, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

My parents brought up four artists. Not intentionally, of course, but now that my parents are gone and we are all adults with careers and our own history, it is art that keeps us close as siblings. There's my sister, who got her masters in sculpture and went on to become an architect. My oldest brother spent his first career as an accountant but now devotes his days to sculpture. My other brother is a highly respected attorney who is steadily and consistently practicing his portrait skills. As for me, I started out as a writer with a degree in English Literature, had a fling with cinematography after I got my degree in Motion Picture Technology, dabbled  in drawing, but returned to my first love - photography - a few years ago when I was finally introduced to digital.  I was just getting started with drawing when I decided to return to photography.

I had shot film for years, had assisted professional photographers, edited images and generally been in and around photography most of my life. I even had brief paying gigs as a school portrait photographer and a studio portrait photographer. For a long time I didn't own my own camera because I couldn't afford it. Then digital came along and I was intrigued but intimidated. Even though my day job for the past decade has been with a large technology company, I was timid about adopting new technology in an artform I knew so well. Fortunately for me I had a young, talented and generous neighbor who handed me her 35 mm DSLR and pushed me into shooting with it. She lent me that camera for a year and encouraged me to get comfortable with digital. That was step 1.

I realized I I was still dabbling in drawing and my progress was pretty slow (see images posted here), when I made a conscious decision to concentrate my creative energy on photography instead of trying to do both drawing and photography. So I took the next step - buying my own camera. I agonized over the decision because it seemed like a frivolous purchase. My creative itch had been scratched with the life drawing groups, but the urge to take pictures wouldn't be suppressed, so I bought a camera.

I started posting a few pictures here and there on Facebook and an old friend who knew me when I was in film school sent me a little note. Iris leaf in early morning light.iris leaf Star magnolia in full bloom.magnolia-3 "Hey, I noticed you like taking pictures of your garden. You should consider trying a macro lens." Hmmm. That was Step 3. I rented a lens and borrowed a lens that someone at work wanted to sell. I took the two lenses to the studio of my friend and we played with them for a full day. I bought the lens from the local guy and could not get enough of it. The next year I took a weekend course through RSMP - to see what I was missing in my quest to transfer skills to the digital realm. That's when things started to get interesting.

I discovered I already knew so much - I just didn't know how it worked in digital. And there was so much to learn. I set aside drawing and decided to concentrate my creativity on photography and see where it led me. That's how I got here. Tulip light - one of my first macro shots.Tulip 05

At the prompting of my brother, my siblings and I all recently read The Accidental Masterpiece .  The author, Michael Kimmelman, makes the point that there's art everywhere - we just have to take the time to see it. This got me thinking about where I find art. I have always found it in moments captured on film.

 

I wonorange gerbera 2 orange gerbera - 1

It's been a lifelong challenge to capture what I see, since our minds translate the vision but a camera just records what you ask it to record. I may return to drawing some day (I certainly need more practice!) And I may try water color painting some day, but I know one thing for certain. I will always take pictures.

 


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