We had a little bit of snow this past week, more snow than we have so far this winter. Little Miss and Zooma the Wonder Dog had a lot of fun trapesing through it.
We haven’t been out a ton lately so I didn’t have enough photos last week for a Photos of the Week post. This week I am combining two weeks worth of photos
Maybe I will have more in future weeks.
It was so cold and dreary here last week that we didn’t really leave the house much, which means I didn’t take a lot of photographs.
I took a few, though, and thought I would share them. Hopefully I’ll have more next week.
I decided to also add some photos I found in my Lightroom that I hadn’t edited yet. I guess you would call them some “lost gems” from the last six months. I also seem to have a black and white theme going on this week. Sometimes black and white helps me to focus on moments, as well as light and dark, more than other aspects of photography.
Also, from these photos it looks like I only have one child. I assure you that I have two, but one is 14. I think that’s all I need to say about that.
Photos from This Week
Sometimes I like to convert my photographs into black and white, simply to see what they look like and what moments are focused on without the distraction of color.
Sometimes I see a photo in black and white in my head and sometimes in color. To me, photos are meant to tell a story and there are times that that story is better told if there aren’t a variety of colors, which can be a distraction, to pull the eye away from the story.
I don’t agree that just any photo can be converted to black and white, however. I’ve seen photographs of flowers converted to black and white and don’t get it. I think flowers should be in color. However, that’s only my personal opinion.
Native American dancers?
Color. (My photo of this was taken on film and I didn’t take the time to scan it in for this post.)
Photos from autumn? Color.
Flowers at a greenhouse? Usually in color but sometimes black and white tells the story better and the colorful flowers aren’t needed.
I thought I would share some of the “story telling” photos I took in the last few months that I thought told the story better in black and white. Even though lately I like most of my photos in color simply so the world doesn’t seem so dark.
And I’ve rambled about photography in general a number of times:
I’ve been focused on writing more than photography recently, but I did take some photographs in January. I no longer take photographs professionally, so I consider my photographs family documentary since they focus mainly on my family life.
We didn’t have a lot of snow. We were running in and out of the house a lot for showings. And we did homeschool lessons. In other words, there really wasn’t a lot to photograph throughout the month of January.
I thought I would look back at 2019 in photos and one thing I’ve realized is that I didn’t take as many photos in 2019 as I have in other years. This will confuse you when you see the list of photos below, but, trust me, I used to take a lot more. I guess I’m in a photography rut of sorts.
I stole the idea of the photos from my brother who, for once, (*wink*) had a good idea. Unlike my brother, I’m not going to add explanations because I have too many photos and I’m not as patient as my brother to do that.
January through April
May through August
August to December
When you haven’t created in over a month and then you do –
it’s like you were holding your breath and didn’t realize it.
And now you’re breathing again.
I didn’t think the leaves were going to be very pretty in our area this autumn, and in some places they weren’t, but they waited to save the best for last in some cases, especially in our side and front yard where our two maples transformed from greenish-yellow to bright yellow and orange, fringed with red, in a matter of days.
I grabbed a few photos of the trees in our side yard and front yard before the rainy, colder weather sets in tomorrow and possibly blows the leaves off. And, of course, I grabbed photos of the kids playing in front of the trees before the leaves all fall off (whether in the rain or later) and we’re stuck with naked skeletons for the rest of the winter. Luckily, we have a tree that is a “late bloomer”, so to speak, which often doesn’t change colors until November and takes it’s time losing its leaves. That helps autumn to stay around a little longer for us.
My son also finished the shed he and my dad have been working on, another project they wanted to have completed before cold weather sets in.
We were late on decorating for Halloween this year, but the children managed to put up a few decorations this week before trick-or-treating, which was held a day early to avoid the heavy rain we’re expected to get.
About a year ago, I started to give up on photography as a full-time business. This may sound like a sad thing but sometimes it’s better to not transform something you love into something you make money from.
When I stopped caring if I got clients, I stopped trying to change my photography, and myself, to get business. Because I changed my mindset, my photography went back to capturing moments that made me happy and not capturing moments that other people considered “frame worthy.”
In the last year, I have started focusing only on moments in my photography that bring me joy, and much less on the scenes others might call “pretty.”. I prefer capturing visual memories not photos if that makes sense. If my personal photos come out blurry or dark or “imperfect” I don’t care as long as I feel something when I look at the photo. What some see as imperfections in a photo are what I see as perfections because the moment was what I was after when I clicked the shutter – not the perfection.
Like anyone, I’m more inclined to feel strong emotions about a photo if the subjects are one of my children or a family member but I can also look at a photo taken by a stranger, featuring their family members, and still feel happiness, or sadness, or nostalgia because of how the moment was captured. Many photos trigger an emotion in me because it reminds me of something or someone in my own life. The image being technically perfect is irrelevant to me if it creates a strong emotion for me.
With personal photos, there is always going to be a memory attached to the photograph but as important as the memory is the feeling the image invokes in the viewer. Personally, I can look at a technically beautiful shot of a high school senior and say “oh, that’s nice,” especially if I know the high school senior, but those photographs, no matter how well lit or sharp or colorful, rarely sparks any kind of passion or emotion within me. It doesn’t inspire me to live a happy life or enjoy the little moments or dance in the rain – it just inspires me to say “oh, isn’t she pretty?” or “isn’t he handsome?” or even “lovely lighting.” But I can walk away from that photo and not feel much of anything inside. I can scroll past it pretty quick.
If I see a photo that invokes emotion or offers something different visually, though, it will stop me in my tracks, hold my attention and make me want to photograph something similar or write something about how the moment captured made me think about similar moments in my own life, moments tucked back in the corner of my memories.
Zalmy Berkowitz recently said on a podcast on Outerfocus that the photography industry, especially the wedding industry, sells on the idea of “pretty”, that everything has to be “pretty”. His photography, to me, is beautiful but it is beautiful because it captures moments and feelings over the idea of magazine perfection. And he’s right – the photography industry, especially in the area I live in, is focused on poses and smiles and heads tipped just right. It’s not a bad thing – it just is.
Clients in my area truly don’t want documentary photography. They don’t want to pay a photographer to capture moments for them because they have a cellphone and they figure a snapshot of their kid on a swing is all they need and that’s fine, that’s good, if it works for them, then I’m happy.
As late as last year it irritated me that people, where I live, don’t enjoy the type of photography I produce. I used to be depressed I couldn’t get hired for the photography work I wanted to produce but lately, I’ve realized I don’t want to try to sell someone on something they don’t like so I am content in taking photos for myself. It may mean our budget is tighter, family trips are almost non-existent and my children don’t wear fancy clothes but in the long run none of that matters as much as feeling like I’m creating the art I want to create.
Photography has never been “just a job” for me. Yes, I need money to help support my family but photography started to become something I hated instead of what it used to be for me, which was a way to document my family’s life, but also a type of therapy to calm and focus my racing thoughts. How can I calm my racing thoughts if every morning I wake up and try to think of a new way to make clients who have no interest in my work suddenly love it and want to hire me?
So I stopped trying.
And it’s been the best thing I could have ever done for my art and for me.