#24 Grit – Extra Course

I remember this day… I should have been at work but I had been fired the day before. I was outside walking in front of my apartment feeling a little bit of freedom from the typical reigns of a work day yet perplexed with what I should do with this new freedom I was experiencing. As I was out in front of my apartment an acquaintance who used to come in to where I worked happen to drive by and stopped to talk with me. He inquired why I wasn’t at work and I got explaining the dramatic event. We hashed out the typical what happened/who-done-it scenario and when all was said and done he said …well, let’s go take pictures for the day.

Man, that was all I needed to hear and I was in the car with camera goods in no time heading off to a journey. He wanted to make a pitch to the local art galleries in Fredericksburg, TX about showing his work first before we got into the day so I got to see how that whole process worked as he did get the interest of one gallery. Then the rest of the day was open highway as we headed northwest into Mason County looking for anything we could find. There was remnants of snowfall from earlier in the week and all sorts of great landscape I hadn’t been to before.

When I first met this guy (I’ll call him Jake) I remember being humored and thinking “what’s he photographing” as I saw him sitting on the ground, focusing on something low between two buildings with a consumer point-and-shoot digital camera. Watching him I thought to myself he must really be new at photography because he looked like I remembered myself as a kid being fascinated by everything I saw and photographing it, only to be disappointed with the end result. You see, he’s an older gentleman who was into digital photography but wasn’t very computer literate and talked about how he was going to have his work shown at galleries and coffee shops. I just thought he was over-ambitious without a prayer in the digital age.

Well I ended up seeing his work in the town coffee shop/bookstore and was more than impressed. There was imagery on the walls of everyday types of things that I see all the time that I couldn’t imagine taking myself yet also thinking… why didn’t I ever take that shot?

We have different shooting styles but he has a really interesting perception of the world and I find it very inspiring. Check his work out at the links below and try to take a little time to see what he’s got there. It’s somewhat varied and I’m sure you’ll find and enjoy something.

http://photographybyjake.artistwebsites.com/

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/photographybyjake.html

It was a good day as I got to know Jake a little better and saw more of what I became accustomed to seeing in how he shoots – low and strange angles, seeing him totally into shooting subject matter unbeknownst to me, most seemed like quirky ideas to shoot but he shoots them none-the-less with a creative “knowing”. Hanging out with Jake was a good thing that day. I had a relaxed sense of freedom that kept my mind off the shock of losing my job. I saw some country I hadn’t been to before and pulled off a few images of my own.

He was funny too. He took advantage of the day to shoot a conceptual image of a doll for a book cover he needed to do and as he was low to the ground shooting it, he joked about how it couldn’t be good if somebody came by and saw us “two guys” shooting close ups of a naked Barbie doll out here in the Texas sticks.

Many things have never been the same since this day for me particularly work-wise but I always remember being inspired by Jake’s commitment to his passion and his positive outlook, an important theme that has stayed with me since.


Under The Perennial

I think one of the challenges that photography presents is that there are times when you feel like nothing is new and fresh, that everything has been photographed many times before. It can feel like it’s just another sunset or sunrise, or building or portrait style, and you just can’t see the purpose of repeating the shot. Sometimes I’m not finding what I’m trying to capture through a lens yet the image feels like it’s somewhere there before me. I got past this when I realized that I never seem to have these attitudes when I’m experiencing these moments without a camera, no matter how many times I see a sunset. The reason is because if I’m taking the time to enjoy myself, it’s more about the whole experience… the feelings, the thoughts, the sense of the moment. Enjoying the moment first, and exploring different perspectives of what may seem like a trivial shot usually translates back as each unique experience, even if it’s been visited many times before.