Way Out There

Telephone Pole
Telephone Poles

This started with a conversation with a fellow blogger. She responded to something I wrote about removing power lines from certain pictures. Sometimes, as in pictures made in the country, I think they should be removed. Sometimes, usually in a more urban setting, I think they are a big part of the composition.

Like this picture.

In fact, the telephone poles, power poles and power lines are the picture.

It ended, at least for yesterday, by reading a story in Rolling Stone Magazine. It was illustrated by a painter/illustrator/photographer/video maker called Matt Mahurin. I’ve followed his work for years. Sometimes I forget to revisit some of my favorite artists. I went to his website. It was all that I remembered. Looking at his work spoke to me. It convinced me that I’m on the right track. Make no mistake. I’m not an artist in the sense that he is. He sees things in complete pictures. He paints. He draws. He makes video.

I see things like a photojournalist. I have to find the picture. Discover the picture. I can’t paint, no matter how hard I try. My idea of making a video is strapping a GoPro to one of the dogs, pushing the button and letting her wander around. That can get pretty boring when she lies down and goes to sleep.

Being on the right track, for me, means taking the picture well beyond what I saw with my eyes when I pushed the button.  It means getting to the things I saw in my mind. What I felt in my heart. In my soul. That’s a little harder. Well, a lot harder.

It’s not all technique.

It’s a space that I fall into when I’m working. It doesn’t happen often. When it does, I don’t really know it until I see the pictures for the first time on the computer screen. Remember, I don’t chimp in the field.

This picture. This is a great example of seeing and feeling. The picture represents something that is very old school. In some cities — those that aren’t built on constantly shifting swamps or sand — all of those poles are gone and lines are buried. Not in New Orleans. This picture takes me back to something I used to see when I was a young boy.

This image also requires a little technology. Not just in post-production. But, in the field. It takes a longer lens to compress the poles into something that helps to illustrate what I felt. Once, the original picture is made then it’s time to tinker. I wanted the picture to feel old. Worn out. Beat up.

I think I got there. What do you think?

One more thing. That dog? She snores. When I played the audio portion back so she could hear it, she started barking at that other dog. Herself.


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