Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
– Lao Tzu
My work is changing.
I didn’t really notice it myself until a friend pointed it out, but now I can see that my recent work looks different than my earlier work, at least to my (and my friend’s) eye. It’s not a sudden break or dramatic shift from what I’ve done before, but more like a gradual change over time that you don’t notice while it’s happening but only after you’ve come a way and look back at where you were.
I can’t quite put my finger on what has changed. I will say that I’ve become more aware of the emotional communication of what I make. When I started in photography, the most direct way I connected with the work I was producing was in terms of its visual communication. The message of the image was communicated primarily by my manipulation of visual elements such as lines and forms, brightness and contrast, etc.
I think I still work this way on a conscious level, but now I think I also am aware of what the image makes me feel like when I’m done with it. Sometimes this feeling simply is what I was feeling when I captured the image in the field, and sometimes it is what I was feeling when I edited the image after capture, which can be quite different. The point is that mere manipulation of visual elements is not enough, there has to be emotional content to the image as well. Perhaps this always has been the case, and I simply now am more conscious of it than I used to be.
I’m very aware that I could have edited this image differently, to make it look perhaps more “pretty.” But, without getting specific about it, I will say this edit more accurately reflects what I was feeling at the time I did the editing.