One of my goals for 2009 is to scan in all of my best slide-based images. Over the past several days, I've been digging through my files and have been pleasantly surprised by some of the images that I've found that I've never submitted to editors or presented before. In several cases, this was due to the fact that I simply didn't have the confidence in myself to put images out into the public eye; mostly because they defied the rules of so-called 'good and acceptable' nature photography.
A particular favorite is of a group of common grackles feeding in my backyard. I do remember making the image and actually went to great lengths to set-up the scene in anticipation of the large flock of birds that had been appearing over the proceeding days. Originally, when I first laid this slide onto the light table, I immediately became really excited about what I had seen. The piercing eyes of the birds, which contrasted so dynamically with the rich, iridescent hues of their feathers were very intriguing. However, I kept going back to the fact that the birds simply weren't sharp. At this stage I had always read that no matter what, always keep the eyes sharp. So, disappointed, I put the image into the sleeve and forgot all about it until just this week. I am thankful that I didn't have the guts to actually throw it away!
Now, after shooting and continuing to develop my photographic vision (and confidence) over several years, I have fallen back in love with this photo. Its dreamlike quality is exactly the kind of thing that I'm into these days and often intentionally pursue– often with less success, I might add. When I look at the work of some of my photographic heroes such as Frans Lanting, it is readily apparent that a strong conceptual nature photographer such as himself is able to blend subject -matter and technique together, to create a final product that evokes much more of the spirit of the moment than One may who always plays by the rules. In my humble opinion, it is here that art is born; a merging of the subject, the moment and the photographer's interpretation of that moment coming together to form something that didn't quite exist in the same way before. In one split-second, these three elements fuse into an inseparable, unique apparition that can speak volumes; we only need to have the faith in our vision to let the dialogue begin.