Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Follow Your Heart

The Importance Of Intuition In Art and Life

Photography is a highly intuitive pursuit. As we interact with out surroundings, we find ourselves drawn to certain subjects and settings, not because some rule or calculation sends us in that direction, but because of how we feel when we see them. 

Once we select a setting and a subject, we continue to interact with them as we fine tune the images that we seek to create.

All of these choices are highly personal, driven by an intuitive, instinctive capacity that we never fully comprehend. When our choices are made honestly, a true expression of what we feel within, they form the basis of each individual's style.

a photo of a green plywood construction wall in midtown manhattan new york city
Green Plywood Wall - Midtown, Manhattan

"Your feet will bring you to where your heart is." - Irish Proverb

When I'm working with my camera, I frequently come to decision points where there is no clear advantage to going in one direction or another. Should I follow this road north or south? Should I set up lights or work with the light that is available? Should I try a different lens? Should I ask my subject to do something that's outside of their comfort zone?

In these moments, I find that it's better not to think but to feel. At a crossroad, I'll make an instantaneous decision - right or left? I leave it up to my body. Whichever direction it decides to go is the right one. I'll find something there to photograph, and the results will surprise me. 

Your heart knows where it wants to do. Your feet know how to take you there. Trust your instincts and your intuition. Relax, take your time, and embrace the magic of chance.

May the luck of the Irish be with you.

Camera:    Sony a7R III
Lens:        Sony FE 16-24mm f/2.8 GM

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2018 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Post 100 - Happy Anniversary!

Celebrating What's Important With Photos

This is my 100th post on Earth Color Magic. I wanted it to be special. 

This is a photo of my father that I snapped in 2008. He was raking leaves one pleasant autumn morning with his dog and constant companion, Frankly, at his side. I saw them and snapped a photo. It's one of my favorite photographs, because it shows my father in his natural element, working in the yard, doing what he loves to do.

Frankly was my aunt's dog. When she passed away, Dad took him in, and they became inseparable.

a photo of my father raking leaves with his dog frankly by daniel south
My Father Raking Leaves (2008)

We all take lots of photos, but the most important images that we'll ever capture are the ones that record the milestones of our lives. Remember that. 

Life moves quickly. Children grow. Family members age. Friends and colleagues come and go.  

Take pictures of all of it. Take way too many pictures and store them obsessively. Take some video, too.

You can never go back in time. You will never, ever, ever be able to go back and photograph an important occasion once it has passed. When the moment is gone, the photos and videos that we took time to record will be critical physical reminders of important times and the people with whom we shared them.

Post 100 - Happy Anniversary! Here's to a hundred more.

Camera:    Sony A7RII

Lens:        Sony FE 85mm f/1.8

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2017 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 2, 2015

Are You Serious?

Finding Words to Explain the Inexplicable

Someone asked me today whether I was a serious photographer. 

Well, he didn't exactly ask. He presented me with an observation. 

"I feel that you're more serious about your music than you are about your photography.

I was at a loss for words. How do you respond to something like that? 

I've devoted a great deal of time and effort to both my music and my photography. I can't say that I prefer one over the other. They're both integral parts of my life, parallel channels of creative expression. 

But the observation caught me by surprise, and I struggled to put my thoughts into words. In particular, I found myself wrestling with the meaning of the word "serious."

a photo of a truck and filling station in the bodie ghost town
Truck and Filling Station - Bodie, California

Serious can mean consequential

"A serious accident left three people in serious condition."

I don't drag my camera into war zones or violent protests. I don't document crime scenes or ecological disasters. No one is going to be liberated from prison based on one of my photos.

I focus primarily on aesthetics. My photographs are designed to be enjoyable. They may be beautiful, memorable, or humorous, but they're not consequential.

Serious can also mean influential.

"Gustav is a serious artist. His work is taken seriously by serious collectors because it communicates serious themes."

My work isn't well-known or highly-regarded, and even if it were, I wouldn't recommend imitating it. Artists need to learn to trust their own instincts and tastes and vision, and they need to learn this early in the game. So seriously (ahem), I believe that we can neglect this meaning of the word.  

a photo of a Crescent Moon Setting Over a Bristlecone Pine
Crescent Moon Setting Over Bristlecone Pine

I'll tell you what I do take seriously. I'm serious about producing photographs in a variety of conditions. I've worked hard to develop skills that enable me to capture photographs at a certain level of technical and aesthetic quality. Every year, I push myself to learn a bit more, because there's always more to learn. 

And because you can get better if you continue to work at it. 

And because when the moment presents itself, I want to nail the shot. I don't want to come up empty because I was unprepared to make the most of the situation.

That's where I'm serious - in my photography, in my music, and in other pursuits. I'm serious about being able to turn what I have imagined into reality. You can't do that without putting in some serious time and effort.

I finally told my friend that I don't know whether to think of myself as serious or not. I just make photographs. I just put time into building my portfolio and developing my skills as I go along.

And here's one more important thought. Never take yourself too seriously. You need to keep growing. You need to keep working hard. The minute that you start thinking of yourself as a success, you'll be tempted to slow down and coast on your past glories. 

Don't let that happen.

Stay humble. Stay hungry. Stay focused. Stay driven. Because that's what it means to be serious.

Camera:    Nikon D800
Lens:        Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved