Not Really a Blog

There is a need for connection

... a connection to the world when photographing the world, and a connection to people when exhibiting the image digitally or as a print.
Another quote - “Only connect!” - has been attributed to a variety of authors. This full quote from E.M. Forster elaborates on the theme: “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer”.

Rather than expound and expand on that lofty statement, I’ll just discuss connection in photography (which is a large enough topic).

Sometimes, a photographic experience arises from a desire to connect: I experience a desire to become closer to people, nature, shapes, colours, textures, moods, or other subjects of a photograph.

Sometimes, a photographic experience occurs from a sensation of connection: eye-contact with a stranger, a resurrected memory, nostalgia from an abandoned building, the joy of seeing someone else’s joy, wonder at the intricacy of a fallen leaf.

When circumstances are right, the desire to connect leads to the sensation of connection, and my “photographic experience” is already a success: even if the camera does not click, and even if no image comes home with me, the experience of connection has enhanced my life.

Sometimes, though, the camera does click. Before the click, there is some stillness, some silence. It is different for every photographer, I am sure. For me, the experience transforms to a gentle excitement, enhanced by a field of possibilities and challenged by a mountain of questions. Each part of the process - from exposure to light to position to framing to lens to ISO to depth of field - is an opportunity and a challenge. Through it all, there is a conflict of time: the process should (or could?) be meditative, but the moment doesn’t last. The trick is to be aware of the connection, and then try to bring the “connection point” from the subject into the camera.

After the click (or after the dozens of clicks), there is a digital file in my camera that might, or might not, express the connection I experienced. The test in measuring the success of that “click” is the extent to which it can be expressed to someone else. That’s the next connection.