Rows and Patterns

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Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Creative ideas grow during a photography session. As time passes you begin to see things differently through the lens. Images take hold of your imagination and it is difficult to walk away.

Ideas keep emerging. Perhaps hundreds of photos of a simple room verges on obsession. But each one is different and represents a different concept. A slight change in composition and perspective creates a unique image.

There is excitement when clouds open overhead and sunlight pours in the skylight. There is also attachment to the images. An emotional attachment. And there is loss when an image is missed. “Why wasn’t I ready? Why did I still have the ISO cranked up so high, now the light is gone? It only lasted a few seconds, and now nothing. The scene was alive, now it is dead.”

Hours pass while you are absorbed pursuing unexplainable creative passions. You walk the streets guided by image ideas. You never know where they will lead. You see new places and note features that you need to return to when the light angle is different.

Travel photography leads you into a series of overlapping explorations as you learn about a new place. At the beginning of the stay at each destination you spend long days in reconnaissance. You try to see the new location in all light conditions. The days start before dawn and last until dark, and after. Then during the rest of your stay, you follow your notes and return to sites at certain times of day. You make adjustments as you learn more and meet people. Hopefully the weather cooperates.

People do not really understand how captivating the process is, how powerfully the images draw your imagination. Sometimes the explanation sounds pretentious and self-absorbed. It is just something that you must do. It is hard to say without sounding overly dramatic.

There must be overall balance and there are other things that must be done. But for those short times when you are trying to make art, you are continuously seeing compositions and thinking about how to photograph them. You want to show people what you are imagining and how you have seen this place. Your website and exhibitions give you chances to show your ideas.

You hope that the photographs are interesting. You hope that people will stop and look. But you realize that nobody will ever know how much time and emotion that you have dedicated to each photograph. They just see a picture. “Hey, you just went there and stood and took a picture. Big deal!”

The next time you get your camera out and start walking it will be the same, however. You see images. This is what you want others to see. Did you see these chairs in this way?

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