Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Room to Roam

The more time that I spend photographing animals in the field, the more that I've begun to pull away from the tight, crisp, maximum depth-of-field shots that I used to make early-on in my career. Initially, I was so intrigued by what I was photographing that I failed to capture much more than just a shell of subject. It took me a while to realize that there were so many folks who literally had thousands of scientifically accurate photographs in their files of just about anything that I could imagine. It also didn't take long for me to realize that the photographs that I was selling –that really grabbed viewer's attention– were not the perfectly sharp, show-it-all type of images. Jim Brandenburg certainly had a great influence on this departure in my work through his masterpiece, Looking for Summer but it was only this year that I believe that I've finally 'let go' of worrying about making images to fit a certain niche. My subject-matter is still –and I suspect will always be– nature based but I don't worry so much about getting it all in focus. What I'm looking forward is narrative, imagination and passion in my work. In order to reach their maximum potential, every artist must come to a place where he or she realizes that there will only ever be one of themselves in this world and that they will be doing the everyone a disservice if they deny their own unique voice.

I photographed this black rat-snake last weekend on a photo hike with my friend and fellow photographer Greg Kiniry. It was hard not to go in tight on this beautiful creature at first, but as it worked its way toward the rock I anticipated that there might be an opportunity to do something special. Although I had captured several frames before this image presented itself I knew that I wanted to keep the snake small in the frame and give him room to move through its environment. For me, there is a beauty in the image's simplicity that is both closer to what might encounter in the wild and also somewhat symbolic –not intentionally– of where I am at in my life. I don't want to be boxed in. I need room to expand; to grow. I am excited about this turn in my photographic experience and feel that I'm finally hitting my stride.

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