A Sense of Direction

No Parking, Basseterre. St Kitts

When I ventured into this photography thing as something more serious than taking snapshots, I started off, as a lot of people do, shooting nature subjects.  Kathy & I would drive around with Kevin Adams’ Waterfalls of North Carolina book, looking for waterfalls and shooting anything we found interesting along the way.  At one point it seemed like I had a knack for finding “magic moments” where the morning or afternoon light provided gifts of dramatic clouds, fabulous sunbeams and great sunrise and sunset colors.  I was a Nature Photographer, and proud of it.

Padlock, Basseterre. St Kitts

I still find myself attracted to the mountains and to the woods, but I’ve also realized that there are photographs to be made everywhere.  I’ve made photographs in small towns, large towns, on cruise ships, on Caribbean islands, at the beach, in the mountains, you name it.

The difficult thing is that it’s hard to break old habits.  When I think about photographing fall colors I automatically think about heading for the mountains.  Same with spring wildflowers, or sunrises and sunsets.  But the seasons happen everywhere, and there are photographs of all kinds to be made in lots of places besides those we think of first.  The challenge is to come up with new ideas.  Fall at a bluegrass concert in Floyd, VA perhaps.  Wildflowers at a park or garden in Statesville.  The possibilities are endless.

God is Love, Basseterre. St Kitts

The thing I love most about photography is that it so personal.  I can photograph whatever I want, wherever I want – within reason, of course!  Rather than limit my travel to traditional photographic icons, I like seeking out subject matter wherever I am, in places where it is harder to find, and where I have to work a little harder to find something that appeals to me.

Red and White, Basseterre. St Kitts

Paul Lester recently wrote on his blog a post titled “Where I Connect” about reviewing his images in preparation for a critique session at an upcoming workshop.  Paul wrote that he “connects” with nature and people.  He and I are attending the same workshop and in going through the same exercise I’m finding that while I still do a lot of nature photography I have been connecting more and more with things other than nature, which is interesting since I have traditionally considered myself a nature photographer.  I’ll probably come up with a mix of material, but it’s an interesting process.  I don’t like labels anyway, so maybe I’ll just start considering myself a Photographer, without any prefixes.  And I’m proud of that, too.

Yellow Door, Basseterre. St Kitts

7 thoughts on “A Sense of Direction”

  1. It is interesting when we start to apply the label because it imposes constraint, an sense of feeling that we can’t go outside of that particular area. However, I maintain that it not necessarily constrain us, but provide general direction, I guess. Sure, I’ve gone back into the woods and am glad to do it, but I think that I will still have a desire to record a street scene, here or there, or whatever else strikes my fancy, but for the short term, I want to get back into the swing of things with what I love to do. It fits my personality.

    You have quite an eye for architecture, color, form, etc, so I can most certainly see why you like shooting these things; by all means, carry on, labels be damned! 😀

    1. We don’t want to label our subjects any more than we want to label ourselves, since as you say it can tend to constrain us. I do agree that it may be useful to apply labels as perhaps points on a map, as opposed to using them to describe or define a style or a profile.

      I do enjoying finding the interesting in the overlooked or the everyday. Perhaps that’s why these scene appeal to me.

  2. I also agree that our photography is personal. There will be those who are not interested in our work while others will and that’s okay. I, too, have considered myself a nature photographer and my archives show that while the last 5 years I’ve photographed more people and things.

    I love this series of images. They are along the line of the sort of things I seem to be finding in my archives lately. I second Paul’s suggestion, continue on and show us more.

    1. That’s what is so great about this – no wrong answers! It’s very personal, and as long as we are true to ourselves and our vision we are successful, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.

  3. Labels are an interesting things. They can be very useful tools for organizing and increasing efficiency. Yet, they only work for things that don’t change, which is why they’re not good when applied to people — people change, photographers grow. I don’t personally feel a need to drill down to any finer level then photographer. Hey, I like Italian food, but I wouldn’t want to eat it all the time,,,why not variety!

    I really like these photo’s as a series. I often wonder if people actually picked these colors for doors and gates or if they just happen to be the colors left over and on sale at the local home improvement store? I’m thinking, on sale! 🙂

    1. Variety indeed! If we all liked the same things it would be very boring, and we would have so little to talk about!

      I also wonder about these colors, although it is a Caribbean island, after all. They do tend to like their colors.

  4. Labels? We don’t need no stinkin’ labels. Sorry for the joke, but seriously labeling can be a good tool or it can easily get out of hand. My friend made a living shooting wildlife photos and called himself a wildlife photographer but he shot fantastic landscapes, portraits and weddings. He used the wildlife label as a marketing tool and was very successful with it.

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