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Great pwelliott 2006-03-06 17:17

I took me a while to begin to understand what you are doing or what I think you are doing in your photos. After looking in succession at all of your photos I began to see stories and it all started to make sense. I have really come to admire how you capture so much information in a shot. Your photos have made really look beyond the aesthetic pleasantness of a shot and start to look for the underlying meaning if any the photographer had in taking the picture. It has made me question why I find some of my own pictures interesting and whether or not I was even thinking when I took it. I look forward to learning from you and trying to better understand how I can graft some of this into my own photography.

Thank you for sharing,

Philip

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Old 03-07-2006, 01:07 AM
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Default To pwelliott: hi Phillip

...first ...thanks for your thoughtful note.....it's great when people are really thinking about photography and not just out for enjoying a visual treat....not knocking it - it's just there's so much more.

My thoughts on where I'm coming from with the more narrative or symbolic images is based around a few key things I guess.....

- I've spent a lot of time around the ways different art forms work with narrative - from dance to poetry, visual arts to drama or film-making - I guess a lot of this has influenced me a lot over the years....so i've got all sorts of receptors working the potential for an image - the story is mostly forming as I look at a subject - I often wait for the decisive moment when all the elements I want in an image are all in the right place....sometimes it just happens in front of me - have you seen the Vampire one in B&W - it's one of the most well received ones here.

- I spent a lot of my teens and twenties painting - symbolic stuff, surrealism - often complex images based on a multiplicity of relationships across the image - I guess in a simpler form this is what i look for in everyday life around me - there's no great secret - anyone could discover in five minutes what took me five years - I look for the internal geometry of an image and have all sorts of ideas to play with.

- Someone got me into writing semi-traditional haiku (exploring the new western traditions) but with the Japanese adhere3nce to strong visual images - show don't tell. I think this has also shaped the way i look at things - photographs with words.

The one you've chosen here is I think an incredibly 'full' image for me in terms of potential narratives - there are strong relationships and inferred ones - the difficulty here was bringing something into the frame from the right to balance the image - hence the choice to wait for someone - I couldn't believe my luck when the guy with the box appeared but the real look is that he cose the moment he stepped into my frame to look at the guitar player.

I think you have to think through the viewfinder and MAKE whatever you want the image to say through juxtaposition and use of compositional ideas - keep looking - one thing i've really learnt from Izzet Keribar on TE is to have more patience once I've found a good background or subject - I work an area more even when I'm in roving street photography mode and wait longer!

I think this isn't about grafting something on but looking at finding something essential in the way you see with your eyes. How you see with your movement reading (kinesthetic) ability, spatial relationships and relationships of meaning across the frame, with your mind- both in terms of connections and narrative (what might your audience read this as) and with your developing compositional ability - I can see by just a quick look at your gallery and the way you are experimenting and commenting that these things are all developing in your approach - you are forming more and more what you are looking for.

Stories are sometimes there for us as photographers and are not revealed until after the image has been taken - that doesn't mean we didn't read the story at some level - we take in an enormous amount of info and meaning at a glance - it's just that our conscious engagement may have been more on something else when the image was taken - the story is captured then and just waiting for us to see it in a word form.

Man - I'm just rambling here - it's late - I hope this is useful in some way - if I haven't been too clear or have ended up talking in riddles let me know!

thanks for your interest

take care - kev
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Old 03-07-2006, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: To pwelliott: hi Phillip

but the real look is that he cose the moment - should read -


'but the real luck is that he chose the moment'
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Old 03-08-2006, 05:27 AM
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Default Re: To pwelliott: hi Phillip

Kev,

Wow! Thank you for putting so much time into answering my question. I never expected such a thorough response.

I was really encouraged by a few things you said. One that comes to mind is the idea that the story is in the mind at some level when the shot is taken. Something draws me to a picture my job is to examine my images and uncover the reason or story behind why I took it. This of course is not the case with all shot but for some it is. This is encouraging because sometimes when I examine my pictures after the fact I discover things I didn't know I had captured and it made me wonder if that was an image cheaply bought. But I realize that like any idea it always starts small then with time it can be really exploited and turned into something great and rich with meaning.

You also touched on your previous experience with painting and other mediums and how that has influenced you photography. I am discovering more and more to my surprise that photography is just as much an art form as painting, drawing etc... I began to realize this as I critiqued other peoples work. I have been drawing, painting and doing graphic design work for years but never touched photography. I had this silly notion that it just captured reality, things as how they appear. Turns out I was wrong. In critiquing I have begun to really pay attention to how the eye moves through a piece and examine what the photographer desires for me to look at or learn and if their approach was affective and if not how can that be better achieved. I began doing this on some of Verde's last few posting on TE. Anyway this has really helped expand my depth and understanding of the potential for photography to communicate so much more then the facially obvious.

All this said I found your note extremely helpful and hope to continue dialoging with you. I have much to learn.

Thanks for your time and thank you for looking at my work.

Philip
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Old 03-08-2006, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: To pwelliott: hi Phillip

Hi - it's always a pleasure to have a longer conversation around things here - it's exciting that you are moving into photography from that background - you will see so much more than many people already - "I have begun to really pay attention to how the eye moves through a piece and examine what the photographer desires for me to look at or learn " - this is so crtitical.

I got into photography quite seriously in the mid eighties but children and work (I run a really busy community arts organisation) just kind of took it all away - so I feel like a real beginner again the last couple of years - but starting from a whole range of new places.

I'm learning al the time here - I think it's a good place for that!

best wishes Kev
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