I received a lovely email last night from someone who said “……It is so good to see your journey through some ordinary photos. Thank you for not ‘prettying them up’ and not only showing your stunners! I feel like I am in the car with you……. ”
Through this blog I made a commitment to open my heart and share my life through my photographs, words and any wisdom which I can offer which may be of use to others. For me it is about being real, and exposing the reality of my experience. Part of doing this is sharing my exhibition work and poetry; but also those ‘ordinary pics’ which provide a narrative of my path. These are the ones with blown out highlights, crooked horizons, blocked shadows, a bit out of focus; clumsy composition etc…. and are the ones which just simply illustrate some of my experience. They may not have the postcard blue sky and the perfectly placed cloud…. but recognising and still taking notice of the ‘ordinary’ is an important part of acknowledging every moment in one’s life – not just the ‘pretty bits’. Where we drive, camp and walk isn’t always like a postcard; but for me still needs to be documented as part of my experience. My little video clips are the same – low key, simple, fun and form a part of a real story.
Photographs can have many different purposes, and sometimes it is a good idea to clarify in one’s mind which purpose certain photographs fill. I was speaking with a couple one evening at Karijini and this man said to me that his ‘Deleted folder’ was always bigger than his ‘keepers’…and then his wife said in a very dismayed tone, “And we don’t have any photos to show the kids or our family when we get back.” I asked him why he took photographs and he quickly replied – “To have a record of where he had been and to show others some of the places he had been to.” I asked him why he deleted so many…and he said “They were crap and they weren’t ‘very good’.”
We had quite a lovely discussion and he realised that in his endeavour to have photographs “to show the kids and others where they had been” – he was really expecting of himself to create works of fine art ‘like the top landscape photographers’ and wanted to create really ‘pretty pictures’; and that he was actually creating a terabyte of ‘deleted’ photographs and had nothing to fulfil his aim of sharing with others where he had been to and was not keeping a record of some of the ‘ordinary’ moments of his life which were actually meaningful. He was judging and comparing his photographs with other photographers and in doing so denied his family and friends the opportunity to share his journey with him – which was his intention for taking photographs. He then realised and said to me and laughing with his wife that he was now going to have a “Sharing folder”…with images which told a narrative of where he had been, and these ones he would not be so critical of for their technical or aesthetic proficiency and not compare them with ones in the Australian or National Geographic.
So… I have my happy snaps in which others can feel like “they are in the car with me” and are an acknowledgement that I have observed and acknowledged ‘ordinary’ moments as being worthy of giving my focussed attention to and to share as well; and then my artistic exhibition work – which is a whole different story!!! 🙂