This week, WordPress has posed a challenge that I take on proactively in the Hammer Home Street Photography Project.
Unborrowed Symbol –– is the name of one of my themes that is inspired by a quote from the philologist and Indiologist Heinrich Zimmer. He said:
“Symbols hold the mind to truth but are not themselves the truth, hence it is delusory to borrow them. Each civilization, every age, must bring forth its own.”
In the project, I pay attention to the objects and places that appear to represent, stand for or suggest an idea, belief, action or material aspect that is typical of the city at large or community within (that’s quite a mouthful).
For this week’s challenge, I post this image.
Symbolically, justice is something that everyone should have but can’t necessarily agree on; therefore, and most unfortunately, not everyone will actually receive it in their lifetimes.
It’s axiomatic, yes but still something I ponder.
Yes! I had to jump in on WordPress’ Door self-challenge.
It’s a pleasant coincidence that this is WP’s theme as this morning, Kim and I were just talking about the phenomenal worldwide attraction to photographing doors. We remarked at how many door photography books have now made it to the shelves of major bookstores, and that one of our friends has one from many years ago.
Of course I also have to mention that one of the WP blogs I like to peruse on occasion is The Legion of Door Whores. There’s lots of good inspiration there.
I do have a few door shots of my own, and I did consider stuffing them all into this post but alas I decided to show just this one.
So, the last time Paula Borkovic allowed me to post a guest challenge on Lost in Translation I covered how to tell a story through full colour photography by connecting emotively with your subject matter. It was a fun exercise, and I really enjoyed seeing everyone’s effort and feedback to each other. Sometimes, that’s very important. Paula has me back again, and this time I’ve explained a few steps that we can take in our aims to express ideas illustratively.
The drive is to tell a story through one or more black and white pictures by staying emotionally connected but also by utilizing illustrative techniques. This is to help pull the artist out of each of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re engaging in sports photography, wildlife photography, fine art nudes or a real tuffy like still life. It doesn’t mater if the subject matter is something that appeals to you or irritates you. There’s a story to be told.
Are you up for this self-challenge? Jump to Lost in Translation, take a look at this approach, take your time, take your best shot and have fun with this. Take on the challenge, and leave links to your pictures there or here.
Thank you again Paula for this opportunity.
I love how you expressed the theme through a street photography essay. Everyone recognizes that you are pushing yourself, and succeeding!
I thought that I’d take on this challenge by Yvette on Paula Borkovic’s blog Lost in Translation.
I find photographic portraiture quite challenging as there is considerable effort placed on trying to capture and convey someone’s true character. It’s terribly hard to accomplish when you know that most others who see it may never meet the subject face-to-face in real time for a chance to try to get to actually know him or her.
For a recent example that caught the attention of much of the western world, we saw the glamorous portraits of Caitlyn Jenner by Annie Liebovitz. Rhetorical questions; without knowing the history behind those pictures – without reading the article in the July 2015 issue of Vanity Fair, did we see Caitlyn’s true personality in those shots (being a lifelong Star Wars fan, I also really dig the cast portrait that Annie shot for the cover of VF’s June 2015 issue)? If we did, can we take a camera and accomplish that ourselves? It’s a pretty high benchmark to reach when you really think about it, huh?
Now try street portraiture. If your intent is to convey how someone exists in their most natural public setting, doesn’t that make your job as a portraitist all the more harder?
Sure, I do the occasional street portrait that is the typical head or profile shot, and while they may be technically accurate, maybe bring out the personalities of people on the street and even be pleasing to the eye the results really are limited if I don’t get that environmental factor in place.
That’s the operative word right there . . . “environmental”.
If I want to make sure that my own street portraiture counts as street portraiture, I push myself to rely on the skills needed for environmental portraiture.
I don’t consider the above shot as top-notch but I think it is okay for this challenge, and illustrates my point.
I seldom repost pictures on the same blog. This is an exception for the sake of project context. The last time I put this image on MOF, it was part of a trial run of a few tree landscapes (you can click the bold bright text to see the original post). The reaction to this specific piece was positive, not just on MOF but also in my neck of the woods – pardon the pun. So, this image was included in the Arboretum Virtualis.
This landscape is a good example of how I select some of the trees and scenes for the project. If necessary, I will create the visual effects that I want for a portrait but I love it when the natural environment creates conditions that make trees and other visual elements appear in extraordinary ways. Like how the combination of an ice-fog and a thick blanket of snow made this maple and weeping willow (Salix babylonica) seem ethereal.
Beyond that, the trees in this project aren’t exactly sought out and chosen. They usually seem to get my attention instead. I could be somewhere with my camera and a tree; just by its shape, location and condition at a specific time of year may stand out to me from all the others around it as if it had actually said, “Hey, look at me! I’m right here!”
I dream of walking among mythological beings and creatures, vivid and exotic like the most beautiful birds one could ever see.
Emotion; we can let it get the better of us or we can utilize it as necessary. Apply the right emotion, and the right amount of emotion at the most logical time. Photography is an activity in which you need to have emotions.
Your subject doesn’t have to be famous or even admirable. Whatever subject or circumstance you’re shooting; connect with it with controlled passion. When you do this . . . realize the outcome.
This is the thrust behind the first self-challenge in photographic storytelling that Paula Borkovic has invited me to present on her blog Lost in Translation. Go there and see what it’s about. Take on the challenge, and leave links to your pictures there. I look forward to seeing your results.
Thank you so much Paula, for this opportunity.
2D visual artist specializing in illustration, photography and graphic design.