After the Eye Candy is Gone - A Creative Discovery
A good friend and student asked me recently, how do you know when it’s the right time to take a picture? In jest, I told him that when I figured it out, I’d let him know. But it got me to thinking…
I confess, my image editing routine is a bit odd. I wait months to go through folders, a reaction to expectation, I’m sure. Recently, I’ve been building my Lightroom catalogue from 2021, looking for diamonds in the rough in anticipation for my May 2022 show at the Providence Art Club. One of the valuable tools in Lightroom is the building of collections and keywords, that clarify, when looking through mounds of files threads that are invisible when in the process of visual growth. Not subjects, but emotional trends.
Once the eye candy is gone, I look deeper, for details suggesting the presence of those gone by but also elusive gifts most notably those images that truly resonate with the experience of being there, of seeing. What started as my pandemic documentary barn project as seemed to be creatively stalling. A colleague suggested looking at the same material with different eyes. Aaron Siskind, and his graphic, textural subjects, taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary proved to be an awakening.
After the eye candy is gone there is the miracle of the universe in a grain of sand. What is a walk in the woods without paying attention to the small miracles of nature? But we must be present and open to experience this. Instead of immediately picking up the camera to the eye and letting whatever my fall in the frame, I ask myself the question, why am I taking this photograph? And, if I cannot answer, then the camera is lowered, and I seek the experience. The one that says, ‘I am’.
Many times, this photographic process is intuitive. It is these gems I am discovering…uncovering in my Lightroom catalogue. The threads we are not conscious of that linger in our creative soul, these are the images that are now rising to the surface and will be featured in that PAC show. It is said that we have all the answers we will ever need to grow in self-discovery. This ‘hidden wholeness’ is the act of living and being mindful of every moment as a gift, is the thread in the work I am finding now. So, Ted, when do I trust that the moment is right to press the shutter? There is no formula, only the feeling of wonder and connection.