Of myths and macros
I'd like to dedicate this blog to two of my favorite teachers, Mr. John Hartley and Mr. Jim Coppens.
Teaching me English in high school, Mr. Hartley gave me an appreciation for a clever and precise use of language. He also gave me a command of grammar that has served me to the present day.
Mr. Coppens was my yearbook adviser the first two years I seriously worked on the Roll Call. He helped me learn how to research, report and write. He gave me my first opportunity at photojournalism and gave me a sense of how to crop a picture.
I think the two of them provided me with 90% of the abilities I use today in my job as an editor and in my hobby as a photographer. They helped me maintain an eye for detail while keeping the big picture in mind. These skills help when you are translating a text, writing a book or making a picture. I don't always succeed, but it's nice to have a goal to aim at.
As I've already admitted, I am a collector, a gatherer of images. This is different from an Annie Leibovitz, for example, who makes pictures to fit the preconceived image she has in her mind. If I tried to do that in my photography all the time, I'd make five pictures a month and try to imagine pictures and find the resources to make them the rest of the time. (Perhaps that should be my goal and perhaps I'll make it there one day, but for now, the way - the gathering - is part of the fun.) As it is, I sort through thousands of pictures each month, looking for a dozen good ones that are worth showing.
And yet I have learned that it is important to ask yourself not only what a picture is of but what it is for and why are you taking it. In other words, what is the story behind the picture?
Last summer when we were in Richmond, we went to a butterfly exhibit at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. It was 100° outside and 98% humidity. Inside the butterfly house it was even hotter, plus they misted the air every five minutes, just what a photographer wants! 100% humidity. I think I empathized with this butterfly which was trying to get out of the greenhouse so bad that it was beating its wings to the point of destroying them.