Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Found light

There is a movement in art - I've probably written about it before - of which my mother is a big fan. It is called "found art." She frequently asks us to send her gum wrappers, tickets and scraps of paper that we find in German gutters. She makes collages out of them.
As a photographer who learned to work with ambient light, I still look for potential catch lights and nice lighting when I am walking around. Often I'll be sitting across from someone in the streetcar and the sun will shine in a way that makes me want to ask permission to snap away. "But what would people think?" I ask myself. When I'm on the town with my daughter, it's different. When I asked Fiona to stand next to these bar stools in the theater café, she obliged. What resulted was, I think, the most beautiful picture I've ever taken of her. 

Back to "But what would people think?" Well, what would they think? I've come to the conclusion - in part thanks to my elder sister's recent declaration of "I am an artist" - that it is my job to take pictures wherever I am. That's the way I express myself. 
Some people express themselves loudly in public places.
Some do it in Internet forums.
Others do it in print. 
Still others let their needs be known in more physical ways.
In the picture above, I was taking part in a photowalk (one of my favorite past-times) with a fotocommunity group from Kirchheim. We saw this attractive woman and her dog and asked if we could photograph her. She said yes. What did she think? I don't know. Unfortunately, she was gone before I could give her my card.
In the above photograph, I pointed my 300mm telephoto lens in her direction and, although she was taking pictures of passers-by on the Schloßplatz like me, she was signaling that she didn't want me to take too many pictures of her. Perhaps she wanted to see my business card first.
Speaking of cards, I've handed out my cards to people whom I have wanted to photograph and asked them to check out this blog and contact me if they were interested in having their picture taken. As yet I've had little luck, but I feel the tide turning.


  1. Hi Jim,

    I like the reminiscent mood of the picture of your daughter. Her facial expression fits perfekt to the light and colours. So I understand that you like this picture that much.

    But I would never put pictures of my children in an order. Every person has a lot of aspects of their personality and one picture can hit only one of them. A picture of a known person ist good in my opinion, when it reflects one of these aspects in that particulary moment. Perhaps because I'm not that entusiastic photographer than youi are..


  2. I agree, Hans, that it is difficult to say "this is my favorite picture", but on the day I wrote it, it was. Luckily, my camera still works and my kids are still cute, so there will be more!