Blog #39 Drawing with Light and Words
For this week’s blog I’m reflecting about writing about photography. The political climate this month (November) is depressing to say the least in my home country of USA and it’s not much better in other places around the world. I’m looking for a creative and healthy escape from the hectic and stressful day to day grind. Writing requires all faculties and can be instrumental as a distraction from the multitude of life’s challenges. I’ve decided to take on multiple writing projects that I will explain more about later.
The word photography was derived from the Greek root words “phōtos” meaning light and “graphé” meaning lines or drawing. Hence, the term literally means drawing with light. Photographers can and do also write with words. We have been including titles to our work probably since the start of the medium around 1838. It is commonplace for photographers to include a title to an image, series, or body of work. While some rebel against this practice, many photographers title their images as painters and other artists have done over the years. Artist statements are frequently included at the start of printed photography books before the pictures are presented. Frequently, this statement is provided by the artist himself or herself. Alternatively, the publisher or editor will provide a bibliography of the photographer. There is such a vast collection of written books, articles, blogs, and other resources for photographers these days that no one could possibly read all of it. We read what we can, yet, the river of information continues to flow harder and faster.
How does it benefit the photographer to write about photography? I will offer an answer to that question here. First, writing about a subject forces me to take some time to research the topic. This results in a deeper level of understanding about a given topic or subject manner. As an educator, this process is familiar to me my other professional endeavours have made it easier to write about topics in photography.
Second, I also find it fulfilling to contribute to the field. There are social benefits in terms of forging professional relationships and friendships through the sharing and contribution process. Forming social networks is important for personal and professional growth and support.
To summarize some recent writing, I’ve been fortunate to establish some of these connections recently. Digital Photography School published a tutorial piece that I did on post processing digital images to achieve the look of film. I’ve blogged about various topics such as Japanese Style in photography, setting goals, and ten ways that shooting film can benefit your digital work. I try to vary the topics to keep you, the reader, interested.
Next month, The Inspired Eye, will feature me and some of my work through their interview series. It’s really an honour to be featured and happy to contribute to photography's global community in that way. More pieces will be featured in the near future from Japan Camera Hunter and Casual Photophile sites as well.
I’m reminded of the old English Idiom , a picture is worth a thousand words. Reversing this phrase would require one thousand words for one picture. While taking this literally might not be possible, it is a worthwhile process to shoot, write, and consider the balance of these and other creative pursuits for all photographers.
P.S. The photos included in this blog were the results of shooting Rollei Infrared 400 35mm film. I developed the film at home using Rollei Supergrain for 15 minutes at 1+15 dilution. A red #25 filter was used over my Nikon AI 35mm f/2 lens of my Nikon FE SLR. I like the high contrast and moderate grain levels from these images. The processing reflected my vision for how I expected the images to come out. Keep experimenting !
The light is always right.