Tag Archives: Germany

Having Something to Work On

Baroque Figures, Study No. 4. Ottobeuren, Germany, 2018.

So, a couple of weeks back I picked up my camera (yes, still my trusty old Canon 5D Mark ii) for the first time in, literally, a year.  That’s right, one year without doing any photography.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.

That’s an eternity for me.  Since I became serious about photography back around 2012, it had been a fairly constant presence in my life.  Sure, there were dry spells here and there.  But nothing even close to a year.

I don’t know why I haven’t done any photography this last year.  All I can say is there was no drive, no excitement to do it.  And without that drive and excitement, it’s hard to motivate yourself to get out and photograph.  Making photographs really is a lot of work, you really have to want to be doing it.

The funny thing is, I didn’t really miss doing it either.  I didn’t miss it, but in retrospect, I feel like the quality of my life decreased.  Looking back at that period now, I think I felt like a bit of an automaton, just going through the everyday motions of sleeping, working, socializing, existing, but not much else.

Now, having new images to work on, it feels meaningful.  By meaningful, I feel like it makes my life more meaningful.  I write that, and it sounds pretentious and silly.  And it is – hardly anyone knows who I am as a photographer, nor cares whether I make photographs or not.  Photography is, objectively, probably the least meaningful thing I do.  And yet it feels just the other way around.

Anyway, it’s good to be back to making photographs.  Not the one in this post, of course, this capture was made back in 2018 and edited sometime thereafter.  It’s among a backlogged stock of more or less finished images on my hard drive that I draw on once a month or so to keep this blog going.  Hopefully, at some point in the not to distant future, I’ll be able to put up a few with a 2021 date.

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Make Something

Baroque Figures, Study No. 3. Asamkirche, Munich, Germany.

Baroque Figures, Study No. 3
Asamkirche, Munich, Germany, 2017

Do you know a writer who doesn’t write?  A painter who doesn’t paint?  A musician who rarely plays their instrument?  Maybe, a photographer who rarely gets out their camera to photograph?

I bet you’ve met a few folks like this.  There’s a lot of people out there who are more in love with the idea of being an artist than actually being an artist.

Real artists make things.  Writers make prose, painters make paintings, musicians make music.  And, photographers make photographs.

It doesn’t matter if your photographs are good or not.  If they’re not good, don’t share them, maybe throw them away.  I’ve made many, many photographs that have never seen the light of day.  The point is to be making them – if you’re making them, you’re being an artist.  If you’re not making them, well… you know.

Making something isn’t about numbers or time.  Some people will have a high output of work, some people will have a low output of work.  It’s also, of course, okay (and even desirable) to rest or take time off now and then.  There are no hard or fast rules, everyone is different.  In your heart, you’ll know if you’re making the cut or not.

Because ultimately, making things is where the rubber meets the road.  If you’re an artist – get out there and make something.

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Like the Germans Do

Death Figure.  Ulmer Muenster, Ulm, Germany, 2018.

Death Figure
Ulmer Muenster, Ulm, Germany, 2018

I came across this cheery fellow in a small alcove of the Ulmer Muenster, a gothic church in Ulm, Germany.  Nobody does gothic like the Germans do.

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I Make the Photographs I Want to See

Baroque Figures, Study No. 2. Asamkirche, Munich, Germany.

Baroque Figures, Study No. 2
Asamkirche, Munich, Germany, 2017

There’s a lot of photography being done out there these days, and a lot of reasons being given for making photographs.  In the art community, in particular, it often seems to me that a photograph is not seen to be complete without a small treatise of theory and explanation to accompany it.

Introspection in an artist is a good thing.  I like to think about the reasons I do what I do, and certainly I encourage anyone engaged in an artistic discipline to do the same.  But it can be taken too far, I think.  Getting too wrapped up in the theory and explanation of photography takes away from its practice.  It can get in the way of producing work or, even worse, compromise the purity of the work being done.

There are many reasons I practice photography, but only one that underlies them all – I strive to make the photographs that I want to see.  I think this both helps to keep me grounded in my approach to photography and keeps me true to my own internal vision in my practice of it.

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When We Look at Our Photographs

Baroque Figures, Study No. 1 Asamkirche, Munich, Germany, 2017

Baroque Figures, Study No. 1
Asamkirche, Munich, Germany, 2017

When we look at our photographs and find not the slightest reflection of ourselves, it’s a good sign that our images have lost their souls.

– David duChemin

For the record, I’ve always considered my photographs to be highly reflective of myself.  For better or for worse, I can’t imagine undertaking photography (or any kind of art) in any other way.

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