The Journey Into Art: Stages Along The Way #3

October 23, 2019

In late 2010 I went for my first dedicated photo trip. This was the first purposeful trip I had taken with the specific goal of completing a photographic project about a specific place.

(This was a breakthru in understanding the need to go to a specific place with a specific goal, in this case a project about the Black Canyon. It also helped solidify my desire to go to common places to bring back the uncommon. These were the two practices that continue to be fundamental parts of my work to this day.)

I went for two days to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The first day I went to the north rim and photographed all day. The sun was low in its trek across the November sky. Although partly cloudy through the day, it was still a bright high contrast day. That was one of the great things I learned - how to shoot in a high contrast situation. I would shoot for a bit, realize I was getting tired and not paying attention, take a brief nap, start shooting again, realize I was tired again, take a brief nap, and repeat.

I am now convinced that seeing creatively takes a lot of brain energy. Shooting all day without a rest results in progressively mundane images.

That evening a front moved in, and the second day was gray with descending snow clouds. The second day I shot from the south rim. Because the sky was so grey with very low contrast, I focused more on the canyon walls with no attention to the sky.

After two days wandering the edges of a 2000 foot deep canyon, I had dreams of leaning over and starting to fall into a deep gorge for the next 3-4 days. It certainly left more than a visual impression on me! 

Earlier in my work I planned projects based on location, and I tried to find unique photos of common places. That was my way of differentiating my work from others. However soon after starting this journey I actually began to shy away from commonly seen areas in Colorado and the Southwest, instead looking for unusual places to express my vision.

It is a great way to start by taking unique photographs of common places. It stimulates your creativity to show a scene you had seen from someone else in your own way and in your own words.

This will help differentiate you are an artist and start you thinking about what you want to show in your work.

Here are the ten images from that first location project.

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