Georgete’s Question

Preparing Caffine

Preparaing Caffine (from the series; Insomnia: Hotel Noir)

Earlier today, I received the following comment and question from Georgete; I like your pictures a lot. Though I find landscape interesting, I miss the human element in your photos. Do you do it in purpose? If you do, why?

This is a really big and I find realitively complex question. Thus this may end up being an answere that I am going to discuss for a while. So I will try to take it a part at a time, so please bear with me…

When I first started taking photographs, I photographed everything from family and friends, to landscape and on the street. I still take a lot of family photographs, but you will see them probably very rarely. Then in the mid-1970’s I attended a couple of zone workshops and developed a strong interest in Adams landscapes. I then qickly became aware of the work of Wynn Bullock, Minor White and Paul Caponigro followed by Stigletiz, Strand, etc.

I realized that I am not a people photographer, perhaps it’s a confort level within myself.  I also don’t think of my self as a studio photographer where the image is too tightly constructed and controlled. I have found that I enjoyed the creative aspect of looking, internalizing and then trying to create an image of the landscape. I realize now looking at my work in the late 70’s & 80’s, I was mostly following some else’s rules. For landscape, including a person or the human element, it usually meant a female nude.

Perhaps people were too hard to “control” and I was not sure of the purpose of including them, does that make sense?  I am not sure that anyone other than a professional model would have the patience of my working on a composition for an hour or two. My family sure dose not.

I am more aware of my current use of the landscape as metaphors for other feelings, emotions and meanings. And I am moving away from a static plastic image of the landscape, where everything is tack sharp and motionless. So now my images may include some movement as a result of wind or other atmospheric effects.

My series Bad Trip – Sad Trip was a big step in a new direction for me. Yes, I consider this series within my diffention of the landscape, but with a human element, perhaps a very strong emotional element to it. And more of an urban landscape versus the natural or rural landscape. And the series is a part of my internal landscape, such as my emtional landscape.

And I am still taking natural landscapes, but these images are not what I find myself thinking about these days. Well, unless I find a reoccuring patch of fog and wind early in the morning with some new “wilderness” to explore as I did recently in the Santa Rosa Plateau in Riverside County in June. But it seems that this is becoming the exception.

And now that I have the series Bad Trip – Sad Trip pretty well defined, I am looking at the next series Insomnia: Hotel Noir.  This body of work is an even more personal series in conjunction with another new element, ME. I will be sharing more about that aspect as I continue this blog.

So in conclusion, I have excluded the human element on purpose for a long time as part of what I would consider my artistic/creative body of work. But I also sense that this may be changing and is evolving.

Best regards, Doug

4 thoughts on “Georgete’s Question

Add yours

  1. Thanks for the reminder about Atget, who was not known for being much of a “people” photographer (or a people person!), but the few that he did were really good.

  2. Fair enough. I see strong emotions in your pictures. One of these days, you might find yourself bringing the human expressions into your pictures. I agree that the “human element” as a mere static portrait might not tell the same compelling story. But human expressions (body languages and eyes in special) are priceless.

    Again, I love your work.

    Um abraco,

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