The Story Behind an Image, Part Six

For the past 14 years, I have a passionate love affair with photography. And I’ve come to discover that I have a fondness with photos that comes with a story. Over the years, I have shot a few of them. Here’s the next installment in my “The story behind an Image” series.

Part 6: This too shall pass

Despite all of its future importance to me, I couldn’t tell you what clothes I wore, what I did at work or what the weather was like on August 16, 2004. But what I can tell you about that day is that someone broke into my apartment and ripped my newfound passion away from me. Thankfully I was at work when it happened. Looking back, I remember walking up the first flight of stairs, then turning to see the door of my apartment. Which was slightly open but with every progressive step, more of the disturbing scene was revealed to me. The sturdy steel frame of the door was peeled back from the wall like an orange and the door itself looked like it was violently punched in by the Terminator. Absolutely dumbfounded by what I was looking at. I remember saying to myself, “What the hell was someone trying to do to my door?” As soon as I walked through the threshold, it was as though a switch was turned on in my brain and I realized what had happened. I got robbed. And that feeling of safety and security at home was instantly eroded.

Walking through my molested apartment, seemingly in slow motion like from a poorly edited B movie. Of all my possessions that was taken from me, my TV, home theater system, it was what I always kept at the foot of my bed concerned me the most, all of my photo gear. Which included my new Sigma 50-500 mm lense, which I had only used once at the Thunder over Michigan airshow a week before. Along with my first DSLR camera, Canon’s Digital Rebel along with two other lenses. Gone. The thought that a person would carelessly force their way into someone’s apartment or house, someone’s home and selfishly take whatever he or she wants, left me rattled to what seemed like forever. I’ve never endured such a feeling of violation in my life.

Feeling shattered and especially vulnerable, I called the local police. To my youthful ignorance, unless you catch them in the act, most break-ins go unsolved. And the only helpful words of advice for getting any of my beloved gear back, would be to check the local pawn shops. The officer told me that most stolen goods end up there, sold for quick cash. I couldn’t imagine the humiliation of going from shop to shop searching for my stolen gear and dealing with the unknown challenges of proofing ownership. I never had the courage to search for my missing gear. I just wanted to get away for that apartment and to move on with my life. At that time, I felt that my passionate love affair with photography was dead and over.

I never stayed another night at that plundered apartment. Oddly enough, the thieves didn’t touch my computer that stored all my precious photos. And thankfully I was able to find a new place to live fairly quickly. After a few months, I was settled in and got back into my work/life routine. During that time, I feverishly saved up enough money to not only replace but upgrade my gear. At the time, I purchased Canon’s new 20D and the 400mm F/5.6L lense. That body/lense combo vigorously rekindle my love affair with photography. I would go on to shoot some of my most memorable photos with them.

I find it ironic that sunsets can be symbolically viewed as an ending of something along with the passing of time and that the final image I took with my Digital Rebel before it was stolen was a sunset. It was the end of one chapter of my photographic journey and after that dark event, the start of a fresh and newly energized one. The image associated with this story was shot two days before that personally devastating day. This disturbing event in my life showed me that most things that we struggle with, are just moments in time. And that with time and patience, we can come to terms with and cope with our hardships and continue on with our lives hopefully stronger and wiser. Similarly, with what’s going on with the world now, “This too shall pass”.

part 6 image

Be sure to check out

< Story Behind an Image, Part 5

New site announcement

Adventure in Awesome: “Hey!? (Searching around) Where did he go? Did he ditch us? Oh man, not again”

Me:(Like Obi-Wan from Revenge of the Sith) “Hello there.”

Adventure in Awesome: “Where have you been? You were posting pretty regularly than you dropped off and now nothing. I got worried.”

Me: “Did you read my Exploring my Creativity series, you know my creative outlets are not limited to writing and photography.”

Adventure in Awesome: “Yeah, I read it. But what does that have to do with you not posting?”

Me: “You know with the Covid-19 Pandemic still going on, traveling and going on new adventures just isn’t possible right now. And since I have a ton of time on my hands and nowhere to go, my creative attention shifted to modelmaking along with spending some time in Photoshop working on some new aviation profiles.

Adventure in Awesome: “I forgot how creative you are. (Enthusiastically interested) I want to see what you’re working on. Where can I find your work? You got a website? Are you on Instagram?

Me: “I do have a website. And it has been occupying a vast majority of my time lately.”

Adventure in Awesome: (quick reply) “How so?”

Me: “My old site sucked. The web service was out of date, poor customer service and I lost a few major pages trying to update it. After that level of frustration, I had enough and quickly switch to a more reputable and reliable web service provider. And the past two weeks, I’ve been building a newer, fresher and more up to date looking site. The domain name just transferred to the new site a short time ago.”

Adventure in Awesome: (super excited) “Cool! What is it? I can’t wait to go and check it out!”

Me: (rapid sound of keys being pressed on keyboard) “Click on the banner and enjoy!”

far148studiobanner

Like I said, the domain name just transferred.  I’ve noticed on while cellular service on my mobile device, it goes to my old site but if I switch to WiFi, it goes straight to my new site. The cellular networks should catch up soon. You can also keep up with what I’m working on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/far148studio/

Adventure in Awesome: So Dope! I’m definitely going to start to follow you on the gram. Thanks for the update!

 

Until next post, stay safe and keep busy!

Steven

Elements of Art in Photography

As we learn more about photography, we come to realize that there is a lot more going on then just point and shoot. At some point, we seek out images from professionals to see what we’re doing wrong. And to our shock, we got a lot to learn about line, color, texture, form, space, symmetry, repetition along with composition. Features that has been helping artist communicate their ideas to viewers for centuries. Those features are called the Elements of Art. When properly used, they can help your audience understand what it is you’re trying to show. They are scores of helpful information online as well as plenty of books on the subject. When I’m behind my camera, I’m always conscious of what it is I’m trying to show and what elements I can incorporate into my images. Of all the elements, here are seven that I frequently use.

  • Line – A perceived route guiding your viewers eyes through an image.
  • Color – Red, yellow, blue, green, purple along with every other color.
  • Form – The shape of an object or subject.
  • Symmetry & Asymmetry – Visually the same or different from side to side.
  • Scale – The size of an object in relation to another.
  • Composition – The creative placement of your subject in an image.
  • Quality of light – How intense the light illuminates your subject.

I want to share with you examples of how I’ve managed to incorporate the elements of art listed above into my photos. I like to use line to guide the viewer’s eyes to the intended subject. It could be literally or implied and gives me the opportunity to play with composition. Since most of the western world reads from the left to the right, I want the viewers eyes the travel in the same direction.

Taillight red, Windex blue, strawberry ice cream pink, sunflower yellow or army man green, all colors we know exactly what they look like. Color can change the mood or feeling of an image, it can be vibrant and full of life and can even stir up some emotions. Along with composition, you can emphasize your subjects to make a bold statement.

Living in a 3-D world, everything we see has some form to it. But to find and capture one that is visually appealing, that’s another story. I feel one must have a special attention to detail and a focused sense of aesthetics to properly capture a beautiful form. Like sensual curves of a posing woman or the sharply chiseled body side of a 2020 Corvette.

Symmetry is probably the most used element in photography and is easy to integrate into your photos. Like the use of line, symmetry can be implied. A reflection off water or some other reflective surface can be used to imply symmetry. I find asymmetrical images more appealing than symmetrical ones. And are usually composed more complex and I feel makes for a stronger image. Just composing your subjects asymmetrically, can be just enough imbalance to attract your viewers eyes.

Giving your viewers a sense of scale can clearly capture how small or large things are. It’s a dramatic effect that help establish a presence of an object or person. Like the towering height of an NBA player to an admiring fan or the unimaginable width of a sequoia to a nature lover. And the greater the contrast, the better.

I’ve always felt that having a strong and interesting composition is important in my photography. And I tend to shy away from composing my subjects dead center and lend toward the more appealing Rule of Thirds. Along with if I can see the horizon within the frame, I try not to place it in the center. There’s no one right way to compose a photo. It’s up to you, the photographer, to visualize how to creatively arrange details in your images.

Since we’re talking about photography, I feel it is valuable to add quality of light to this discussion. Just like all the elements of art, it can change the look, the mood as well as the overall presents of your photos. It can be soft and gentle or strong and contrasting. There’s an infinite number of ways to show off light, you just must go out and discover it. Since my love affair with photography began, I still chase the light to this day.

The Elements of Art are not limited to the ones I mentioned here. Nor are they limited to how I use them. Experiment with them for yourself and find ones you like. Use them frequently and nurture your creative eye.

 

Until next time,

Steven