Just as an athlete needs to work out every day, and a writer needs to write everyday, a painter paint and a singer sing, the same goes for a photographer.
It’s hard to pull off, especially when you’re not working on a specific project or assignment, traveling to some exotic place or even have a lot of time on your hands. It’s essential, however, to exercise not only the trigger finger, but also the heart, brain and eye – those body parts that fuel and inform the whole process of picture making in the first place.
For me, it’s usually a walk around my neighborhood. There are walks when nothing great takes place, photographically speaking. It’s hot and I’m sweaty. No one is outside. The light stinks. Too many dogs are barking and I can’t think. I’m in a lousy mood. But still a lot can happen on those treks. Just learning to “look closer” and to “pay attention more” is usually what happens for me. Even if I come home empty handed or with pictures that are dismal failures, I’d like to think I’ve made some progress. Like maybe today I learned to “see” a little better.
When I was working on the series “One Square Mile” - you can view some of that work here - a couple of years ago, I mapped out an area surrounding my house that was indeed one square mile. Within these confines I made images with my plastic toy camera, Diana. I placed the camera by the front door and usually picked it up each time I took the dog for a walk or each time I just felt like wandering and/or working. At that point, I felt like I was truly getting the daily “exercise” I needed. Since then, I have not been nearly as diligent.
Recently I decided to get back to practicing what I preach. Here’s a picture I made on my trek through the neighborhood this past weekend. Not saying it’s important or even successful, but it’s a picture that won out over all the others that day.
On another note, one of my photographs is on the cover of the current issue of the on-line magazine Ensemble Jourine. The mag contains an interesting mix of poems, essays, plays, artwork, etc. by women. It’s published four times a year. Check it out!