Continuing from last post’s discussion on what is art and what isn’t, today’s post is about making photos & taking them. Dirk and I spent the weekend wandering Washington state, trying to do both. I talked at him a bunch about what takes a photo from a picture to Art. He patiently listened and dropped some wisdom. We never did settle on anything specific, as this kind of thing is hard to really define, but we kept coming back to intent, execution, and originality
Mr Dirk and I headed East to see what we could find to shoot. We had a couple ideas for photos we wanted, but spent a most of our time seeing what’s around and taking photos of whatever was there. I say ‘taking’ because I didn’t do anything special; I just snapped away as I saw stuff. Which makes me wonder, what makes a photo original and how is it so if it’s ‘taken’? For this type of photo, I suppose it’s about being able to compose it in a new way. I think this is why street/walk around photography is harder: there’s definitely intent and the execution is there, but the chances that someone else took the same photo are much higher.
We traversed 90 back and forth in search of the next great photo. The farthest we got was the Columbia river gorge. There’s a really neat looking bridge i failed to photograph out by Kittitas. The only way to get to it is to drive way off the highway at a hard to find exit. We pulled off at a rest area to figure out what we should do to get to it. It’s the rest area right before Vantage. Stop by if you’re ever leisurely driving that way - it’s quite pretty in a desolate kind of way. There’s these tiny birds and chipmunks that live in the bushes behind the bathroom and if you wait patiently you can even get a photo.
Oh, man. Speaking of desolate, have you been to Rattlesnake Lake recently? It blew my mind how low the water is these days. I’m terrible at landscape so I don’t have a photo of the whole lake, but take my word for it: it’s quite dry out there. It was intense. We wandered the cracked clay of the lake bed finding things people have lost when there was still water.
We spent most of the weekend wandering because we didn’t have a plan. But a few shots were different. We really took the time with these. I didn’t get a good photo of this, but Dirk and I rigged up some lights and he made a really lovely photo of a 20s lumber truck that we found sitting in the woods. What I did get however, was a really nice long exposure shot
But all of that stuff isn’t what this weekend was about for me, photographically. There’s an idea that’s been brewing for a while that finally crystallized this past week. I wanted an image of a person sitting on a stump creating stars. I made sketches, I scouted location, all I needed was the time to do it. On Saturday we got up at 5 am, drove out to Snoqualme pass, and walked about 100lbs worth of gear through the wet grass and mud into the dry lake bed of Keechelus Lake. We actually had to guess the position, as it was completely dark when we set up our stuff. It’s a stitch of ~30 photos and I was worried that the sun will come up too fast and make the shadows all weird. But as luck would have it, it was overcast and the light lay evenly across the valley floor. I photographed Dirk, and worked my way out moving my flash powered stars (Ikea lamps haha) around. I would have liked to have like 50 of them, but we just didn’t have the manpower to make it happen. But that’s neither here nor there. It worked and I’m quite pleased with it. I call it: The Creator
Is it Art? I don’t know. Maybe. It feels more like Art than anything I’ve shot in a while. But it 1: is completely subjective and 2: doesn’t actually matter. What really matters is that I really like how it came out and I had a blast shooting. So, I guess, the lesson here is shoot what you feel passionate about shooting and define your own Art.