commercial and creative imagery
In recent times, my image making (on the whole) has become more abstract and, I'd like to think, more creative. This has not been an accident. I've had cause lately to think about WHY I make the pictures I do and for what reason(s). I don't have all the answers yet and in some ways I hope there will always be something more to understand and work out.
Last Friday morning I headed out early to do two things:
1 - go for a walk in a remote Cotswold valley I wanted to explore
2 - take photographs of the snowy scenes
As I headed out I couldn't ignore the pangs of guilt knowing as I did that I should really be at my desk cracking on with some creative design work I'd been putting off and earning some hard cash. As I drove deeper into the Cotswolds and off the beaten track, I marvelled at the crisp white winter scenes all around. Nearing my destination I was delighted to see two young foxes playing in the light covering of snow - I wonder if it was their first encounter?
As I parked up at the start point of my walk, it began snowing again and the skies clouded over - all looked pretty bleak and grey. What am I doing?" I asked myself as I put on yet more layers and hoisted full camera pack on my back in the teeth of the wind and light snow. "I could be at home, cosy and warm, working at my desk." Undeterred, I set off along the path. I passed two farmers loading sheep into their transporter vehicle, giving them a cheery "Good morning!" They looked at me non-plussed and carried on.
Some half an hour later the snow flurry had eased though it was still cold in the biting wind and I began to think about taking some shots. It took me a while to find something, and at one time this bothered me that I didn't find or see photo worthy shots quickly.
Sure, there was a 'classic' view right ahead of me - winding valley, copse of trees and weak sunlight falling on the slopes. BUT, that wasn't what I was after. I wanted something ELSE - I didn't know what but it wasn't the easy option.
Over the course of the next two hours I had barely gone more than half a mile from the car and yet I felt utterly alone and remote - cut off from whatever the rest of the world was doing. I had only made 10 or 15 shots in all that time. What I began to realise was this was precisely why I make the images I do. First, I want to connect with the place I'm in and experience the sights, sounds and to feel the wind and sun/snow on my face - it made me feel ALIVE. The pictures, I have come to realise are secondary to that but the ones I make I want to convey something of the experience and mood and not just present a straight record of what was there in front of me. The time spent immersing myself in the silence and watching, waiting is key to the images I make. A part of me and my response to what I see is in the mix, and then there is my creative interpretation - what to hone in on, what to exclude, what tone and mood it will take. These are unquantifiable things and most difficult to teach in a structured way. It requires time, commitment and a desire to pull away from the rollercoaster that is life, at least for a while. Then, it becomes possible.
The image I've posted shows none of the snow and doesn't even look like winter. But it does show a fleeting moment in a beech woodland where I had delighted in startling a deer in the undergrowth, listened to the harsh croak of the crows and the plaintive mewing of the buzzard circling overhead. I had felt and heard the cold wind soughing through the branches. In this few hours of this morning I was at one with my surroundings and the guilty feelings I'd had earlier had melted away along with the snow.
Commercial and creative imagery