I noticed that some of my prints had an overall darkness to them — in part because I was using relatively small areas of light and saturated colors within a darker background to bring shape and dimension and drama to them. Working on-screen with the light radiating from within delayed recognition of what was becoming a habit.
The epiphany came when I saw some images (example) on Pat Coakley’s blog, “Single for a Reason.” She used the full range of values, but the balance was predominantly light, even washed-out looking, with smaller pastel and dark shapes. It was time to break my habit with darkness and experiment with brilliance. The images here are two of the results.
At the top is a beautiful protected sandy beach and the cut between a small offshore cay and the mainland. The photo was taken mid-day with the sun high and bright — the kind of day where without sunglasses, the brilliance can be dazzling.
At the bottom is a candid shot of a young girl at the St. Patrick’s Day parade (hence the bits of green). She had been playing and visiting friends up and down the street, and had just returned to check in with her dad seated in front of me. It was a cotton-candy moment that deserved to be shown that way.
Not every image can be approached using brilliance, and not every attempt with a new approach is successful. Nevertheless, I have learned that experimenting and breaking habits can help prevent one’s style from becoming confining.
We no longer trust beauty as a serious means of investigation. But it can be ... In fact, beauty can be incendiary; it can be subversive; it can make us cringe.
-- David Maisel, Photographer
"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it." -- Anais Nin
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders of the universe, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.” -- Rachel Carson