Why do I keep coming back to New England photography. Why do I get up early, endure the bitter, finger numbing, winter cold, wade in fringed water and spend hours wandering rutted back roads? It's a valid question.
|Rye Beach Ranbow|
Recently I was honored to be named one of the recipients of the first James and Ruth Ewing Arts Awards. The Awards are sponsored by the Keene Sentinel and Arts Alive and recognize local artists who, "through their work define excellence". Needless to say I am thrilled to be considered among the first recipients of this award. There is so much incredible creativity in the Monadnock region and it is wonderful that I was thought worthy to be among such company. But there was a problem,
|Michael Moore, Dedication|
interview and photo shoot for the special magazine that will be published to acknowledge the Ewing Award recipients. Additionally I endured a video interview to be shown at the Awards event on July 23rd.
Except for the fact that I was the reluctant subject, the photo shoot was surprisingly enjoyable. Sentinel photographer Michael Moore and I got to stand in the rushing water of Wilde Brook at Chesterfield Gorge. I was shooting him while he was shooting me, and, while we both struggled to avoid being washed down stream. The problem came with the interviews and especially the recurrent question, "Why do you photograph?". Terry Williams and Cecily Weisburgh were relaxed and professional inquisitors. They both gave me every opportunity to sound accomplished and intelligent, but I stumbled through various awkward explanations of why I do what I do. I'm terrified to see how it comes out in print and video.
Its not a question that I have spent much time considering or trying to put into words, but all my fumbling attempts at an explanation caused me to ask the question of myself. So here is an attempt to express some of my reasons for continuing to try to capture the New England experience in photographs. Hopefully it will come across more coherently than from my jittery interviews. I apologize for these personal and blatantly self-indulgent musings. This process of self-examination is obviously a very individual endeavor, but I believe it can be of value to photographers and others involved in artistic expression. Whether or not it is stated formally, an appreciation of what drives us can go far to establish a path that is both successful and fulfilling.
Why Do You Photograph?
I Do it Because I Must
|The Empty Chair|
Professional photography is both a business and a path of artistic expression. In retirement I have been able to pursue both aspects and although sometimes the business demands can seem excessive, I enjoy working with clients and striving to respond to their needs. I also find special rewards from the opportunity to use my photography to benefit worthy local causes. Most notably, the sale of my New England Reflections Calendar has supported Cheshire Medical Center's Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, to which I have a long and personal connection.
But it all comes back to the photography. I can come up with a long list of reasons for my photography, but they all seem to be organized around two essential joys:
Being there and Sharing
Two Essential Joys
1) Being There
|Being There, Last Touch of Alpine Glow|
Photography has drawn me out to discover the forests and pastures, the farms and animal of this remarkable area. Once on location the excitement comes from "Working the Scene", finding the best arrangement of light and the physical elements of the location. Trees, hills, barns, silos, clouds, streams and animals are all stirred by the direction and quality of the light to make a balanced and dramatic image and I get to be the cook. Each location provides a set of problems to be solved and it is marvelous when it all comes together.
And Then There is 'OUR' Mountain
|First Circumnavigation, 2004|
|Monadnock in Infrared|
|Tom at Roads End Farm|
|Glenn Stonewall Farm|
2) Sharing the Experience
|Prime Roast Show|
|Monadnock, "Super" Moon Rising|
So, why didn't I say something like that in the interviews? Come to think of it, I could have answered the question much more succinctly.
"Why do you photograph?"
"To see and to show"
Now go look at the work.