A few years ago, I signed up for Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye: Journey of Fascination online course. At that time, I thought I would have plenty of time to complete the class. As usual, I was mistaken. Just as the class began, I was hired to teach middle school English classes in a long-term sub position. My photography was pushed to the side. And as it happens way too often, though I saved the files, I forgot about the course. I receive Kat’s monthly newsletters, and she mentioned that she was discontinuing the Find Your Eye series, as well as A Sense of Place. I have the lessons; I even printed them out this time. Now, I need to work on them to (re)discover my photographic eye. To tell the truth, I need to find the inspiration to photograph again.
One of Kat’s practices is to keep a photo journal in which the photographer pairs images with words. She uses the practice to help the photographer discover his or her “eye,” to see patterns and trends and tendencies. I think it’s time that I put my mind to doing this “for real.” So, today, I’m beginning a series of Photo Journal entries in which I think about the image and write about it. I might just tell you what I was thinking when I took the picture; or I might tell you a story about the image. I may even explore my editing choices.
So today, I begin.
I walked through my bedroom one Sunday around lunchtime. Light was streaming through the slats of the blinds, and it fell across a sheer black infinity scarf I had hung on the door knob. Behind the scarf was a tote bag. I grabbed the camera and snapped the image. I was drawn to the stripes of light across the scarf, the contrasts of white light and black. The gold bag behind it and the pop of red on the right side attracted me as well.
I have learned that there are two or three colors that are particularly difficult for me to photograph accurately—black, red, and white. With white, I tend to “blow” out the exposure, and often the black comes out charcoal gray. And red? Well, red often comes out any shade other the red that I actually saw! Thank goodness, there is Photoshop and Lightroom to help me out of those jams, but even then, sometimes the red is not right. I’m not stressing about the accuracy of the color in this image, though. I am drawn more to the contrasts of light and dark, to the drapery of the scarf, to the lines.. It is admittedly an abstract image.
I’ve noticed that more and more, I am taking abstract images—focusing on parts of things to capture the shape or texture or the pattern.
When I was still teaching secondary English in a public school, our principal had every teacher take a learning styles inventory. I discovered that I am a global, abstract, and visual learner. According the Howard Gardner’s theories, I possess a linguistic intelligence (why should I be surprised? I am an English teacher.). So sometimes, my photography surprises me. I enjoy photographing details, the small pieces that make up the larger whole.
William Blake once wrote, “To see the world in a grain of sand. . . . “ Sometimes the whole is contained in the detail.