Thursday, August 11, 2011

File Under Eye 216/365

Completing the last portion of Kat's Find Your Eye, "beginning the journey".  And yes, I have begun the journey.

In the final challenge, we were to review an established Inspiration File looking for clues about what we're drawn to shooting-a search for patterns, themes, a repetition in our images.  Thankfully we were given a few examples and a list of suggestions of things we might look for.  Confessing I really needed that list to get me started.

One of the first things that surprised me was how many images included brown.  I'm not anti-brown, but offered a big tray of crayons, it's not going to be one of the first colors I reach for.  There were a lot of images with neutral color schemes.  The other color often present was blue, but that's to be expected.

I had a talk with an artist friend earlier this year.  I've been on a quest to figure out what it is that inspires me.  She asked me to take photos for a week and pay attention to what called to me and caused the desire to the end of the week I still didn't really know.  The only thing that seemed to be a common thread was light.  I love delicious golden light.  My inspiration file confirms that this is true.

Mussels {274/365}
Mussels {274/365}
When I took this was not about the food, or the beautiful blue, for me it was about the steam caught in the natural light from the window.  I don't think it's a bad thing that light is my greatest attraction, but I also want to enjoy success shooting photos midday. Without the presence of "perfect" light, I have to find other elements for inspiration.

I wrote earlier that I noticed a variety of windows in my collection.  I don't know what the draw to windows is about.  That's a puzzle....and likely has some metaphor attached to it.  I also noted my tendency to use a shallow DOF and focus to one side.  That's something I've noted before. 

In many of my shots there's a somber feeling of longing, quietness.  Often images feature a single subject, alone.  And lately I've noted an uptick in abstractness...not fully abstract, but blurry focus, a sense of something in the distance...that kind of thing. Hmmmmm.  Might Madame Fortune-teller now have fruit enough to predict my future, or what I want for my future?

Melancholy Daydream
Melancholy Daydream
A window, a focus to the left, a sense of longing, and a blurred view in the distance.  Check.

I also love lines.  Obvious lines as well as implied lines.  I find lots of lines in architecture, fences, and streets....and sometimes they are so subtle, I don't know I've captured them until I study the results on the computer screen.

Memorial Bridge
Memorial Bridge
Obvious-amazing lines, and of course perfect light.

Glamorous Life
Glamorous Life
I was shooting reflections (a nod to abstract-ville)....the long line was a bonus I found at home.

One final surprise...I love graffiti and city images, but I live in a rural area near beaches.  I like that whole urban decay thing-but have to find it away from home.  Oddly, it was pretty much missing from my inspiration file.  Maybe I don't like it as much as I thought I did, or maybe I haven't shot enough in the past couple months to make it in to the file.  This was my only urban shot.  Just good to notice-my tastes may be changing, or I may be intensely overdue for a grungy graffiti and decay session.

Casco St News {261/365}
Casco St. News {261/365}

I enjoyed this exercise and will certainly keep on doing it.  It seems to take the brain out of the way and help disclose what the heart is feeling.  I could use a little insight there.  Thanks for taking a peek at my images and reading my thoughts.


Brenda said...

Susan - I can tell that you put a lot of thought and soul-searching into your review and I really enjoyed reading about your findings. Love all your shots for various reasons - Melancholy Daydream and Memorial Bridge are my favs - the first for its emotional story and the bridge for those amazing lines.

Kat Sloma said...

I love your comment "intensely overdue for a grungy graffiti and decay session." LOL. It will be interesting to see how your trends continue. You could go back further in time to add to your inspiration file, and see if those grungy images are still appealing to your heart. It would be interesting.

Carol Blackburn said...

Aw come on, Susan......I think I smell those mussels. What a fabulous shot. Like something right out of a food magazine. Of course they are all lovely. I forgot to wish you luck on the CD cover contest. Isn't it nerve-wracking waiting?

seabluelee said...

Susan, I really enjoyed these. I'm not really into food photography, but that first image could be a painting. I was drawn in by the blue, but kept looking and finding more details. The light is gorgeous. I've never seen backlit bread before! And those little bits of glowing green, and the flecks of garlic, and the reflections of the tablecloth on the china, and, and, and...and now I'm hungry!
I love Melancholy Daydream, too. Less truly is more.
The boats at the dock with the colorful shacks in the middle and the peaceful reflections, the industrial lines of Memorial Bridge, even the city scene cluttered with posters - you have a great eye for composition and light. And yes, I do sense a bit of a kindred spirit operating here! And yes again, I am close by - Saco.
Looking forward to further Explorations!

Woody said...

It's good to reflect on past work. Ironically, I'm doing an exercise to classify 80 or so non-people photos into 6 categories. It's supposed to point our what subjects you favor and which ones you do not, with an eye towards getting you to look at subjects you tend to pass over. It was really difficult to classify at first, but once you get past the initial hurdle, it's goes pretty quickly. Ill talk about the results in an upcoming post.

The bridge is really cool; the mussels look delicious!!

P.S. I'd never pick brown either :-)

Anita Johnson said...

So interesting to look at your own photos in such a critical way. I'm still all over the place with my inspiration and photos, but I'm sort of random in other areas of my life as well. The steam in the first photo caught my eye right away. These are beautiful keep doing whatever you are doing!

Cathy H. said...

Your images have such a wonderful feel to them! Your love for photography certainly shows through! I absolutely love the gorgeous light on the first one and yet I'm just as drawn to Melancholy Day Dream. You also really have a great way with words!!

Phyllis said...

Susan - thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. Your updated blog was an inspiration to me. I really enjoy your writing and beautiful photographs - they are all exceptional.
I have started grouping my photo's in folders, and have noticed trends. Folders called signs and empty chairs,to name a few... I look forward to your posts.

Dyche Designs said...

I love how you've reflected on your work and the idea of an inspiration file is really neat. I've never really analysed my photos but maybe I should, I might be surprised at what I find.

I know I find myself drawn to darker, more earthier images a lot of the time.

Ms. Becky said...

I enjoy these insightful post immensely. you give so much thought to your photos, in the before AND after. that's what I love about your photography. I think it's a carry-over of the musician in you. a bit of precision mixed with the abstract is beautiful. and that's you. have a great weekend my friend.

Ellie said...

I love every one of these pictures. You have obviously put a lot of thought into your work. Well done!!

Gilly said...

Love the Melancholy Daydream image; it's a great image with a lot of mood and feeling.

I have the same thing with liking to be in the countryside but loving to photograph the cities. Not sure what that's all about! Maybe it's just because it's so different from my normal surroundings and difference is stimulating. It might also be that when things are familiar we stop 'seeing' them. Going to surroundings that are very different from our usual ones has the effect of literally opening our eyes to what's in front of us.

Although all your shots are lovely, the window one is by far the strongest in terms of conveying something meaningful that goes beyond the content of the image. That would suggest to me that exploring your fascination with windows would be a good way to go. One thing that really takes you forward in photography is working on a project rather than just doing single shots. I didn't find this out till I started doing a course that required it.

Another thing that can give you some insight into your work is to get other people to look at a selection of your photos and have them tell you what recurring themes, etc, they see. My tutor once pointed out that I have a habit of placing something in the foreground at the bottom left of my pictures - I'd never been aware of that till he said it. It's really quite difficult to look at your own photos in an objective way. You could also ask others which shots they think are the strongest, and why; you have to be a bit careful here, because ideally you need people with at least a little bit of visual education - another artist would be great.

Cedar said...

I am still analyzing and working on my inspiration file, but wasn't class great? I hope to take more in the future, but not this go around. I just don't have the time to give it my all and I feel like I still have more to garner from the class we took.

I apparently love brown and greens which I did not know; and light, well, photography is light in my opinion~why take photos if not for the light/shadow interplay?

You do an excellent job of capturing light and capturing images of interest and emotion.