I visited France for the first time last summer. Most of it in the in the Luberon Valley in the far south. And like the typical photographer-tourist I took many pictures during my two week stay. Over five thousand. Digital photography lulls its practitioners into a state of endless acquisition. There is a sense, at least to me, of freedom from financial restraint. It costs no more to take a hundred photos than to take three. But the cost comes later when you try to make sense and order of all the images you have made. It is doubly hard when the photographer is not on assignment but rather on a holiday. Anything is fair game to photograph. For me it becomes a matter of looking and feeling, and listening and framing– all with an open mind and heart.
In the book The Photographer’s Eye John Szarkowski discusses the development of photography as an art and writes “It was the photographer’s problem to see not simply reality before him but the still invisible picture, and to make his choices in terms of the latter.” There is something akin to magic in creating an image out of invisible reality. Photography can do this and do it with apparent effortlessness. Yet to do it successfully is a great labor and a great gamble. The photographer must make some sense and order out of the image harvest. Selection, production, sequencing, and presentation all must follow the work in the field. My desire is to communicate the mystery and majesty in the visible and invisible reality I encountered. Photography has bequeathed this potential and a willing soul is necessary to receive it.
Szarkowski concludes his thoughts about the growth of photography with: “An artist is a man who seeks new structures in which to order and simplify his sense of the reality of life. For the artist photographer, much of his sense of reality (where his picture starts) and much of his sense of craft or structure (where his picture is completed) are anonymous and untraceable gifts from photography itself.”
May these images communicate a reality that is mysterious and wonderful, that is intentional and with purpose.