Saturday Evening Post #23: For the Joy of It

Vale Innocence—Christchurch 15th March 2019

I had written this blog earlier in the week, but felt I needed to add my heartfelt support and condolences to all those affected by the unspeakable tragedy in the quiet, wonderful, heartwarming township of Christchurch in New Zealand. For all those affected directly by the atrocities, for their families and friends and colleagues, for the amazing first responders and the superb work of all the authority services involved and all New Zealanders.

May Peace come on Healing Wings.

EE and I have been away on a break the past week.  Took a get-away with some of the people in our village to the quiet township of Portalington for some shopping, eating, entertaining and general good-natured company.  No cameras, birding, bird photography, early morning get-aways or late evening stay outs. Company!

Still as I was doing the last of the packing the weather forecast looked like some of the outdoor activities would likely be a washout or freeze out, so I pondered a day or two indoors and grabbed a book. (and a camera and lens—more to follow).

The book I chose was “Photography for the Joy of It“, by Freeman Patterson.  A great Canadian photographer and teacher.
He is one of those whose style was introduced to me when I was making a career change, and his work gave me a new direction for my own picture making at the time.  My copy of Photography for the Joy of It, is, to say the least, well-worn, and dog-eared.  Here tis.

It has been through a few updates since my copy was first published, but the simplicity of Freeman’s images and his honesty with the text is still a delight to read and view and to ponder.  So much so that by the end of the first day inside because of the weather, and bad tv programmes, :-), I was reaching for the D7100 with my rapidly becoming favourite walkabout lens the f/4 70-200. I was even seeing possibilities through the window of the unit.

Patterson is now in his 80s and still going strong.  will find him if you are interested.  His “Images, Ideas, and Reflections” letter is a beaut source of creative inspiration, and some good quotes too.

A lot of his work that excited me at the time had to do with the application of Gestalt psychology, “an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts”

Alignments, shapes and patterns being a big part of it.  Let’s not get technical.

So with a day to fill-in on a shopping field trip to the local Queenscliff area, and my head ringing with—Proximity, Similarity, Continuity, Closure, and Connectedness, (you’ve got to look that up), I entrusted EE to the group, and began to stroll the main street in the sunshine, armed with said lens and a polarising filter attached. Gotta make the most of colour.

One thing that comes out of looking through the book is the way he has assembled so many photos that seem at first to be too simple.  The thought runs continually, “Oh, I could have made that”, which is precisely his teaching style.
Here is an image of his that I have always been enjoyed.  I don’t have permission to reproduce it here, but this is a shot from a page in the book.  I acknowledge All rights, use and intellectual properties are the ownership of Freeman Patterson.

The title he chose for this fascinating view is “Maybe Maggie Left it Here!”

Now chooks might not fascinate you, but his patience in getting the elements to work in just the rich way says much to the Proximity motif.

I didn’t find any chooks, but had a fascinating day exploring the buildings and shapes and tones, colour and textures and incongruities of the way as humans we assemble the things in our lives.

In case you don’t ever read the book, here is the last line in the last chapter.

“Photography is a good way to explore yourself and your place in the scheme of things.
Try to understand your personal responses to different subjects—those you photograph and those you avoid
Then the techniques you use will make sense.

The Joy of Photography is the Joy of Self-discovery.”

Window detail Queenscliff March 2019

14 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #23: For the Joy of It

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you re Christchurch. It was a terrible day for both the victims and the country.

    I very much liked the brief bit of philosophy from that book of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Try, try, to give some humanity to the gunmen, and hope that they’ll find a way to feel remorse, apologise to their victim’s families, New Zealanders and to the Muslim Community, for their dreadful crimes.


    1. Hello Eleanor, I’m probably going to quote Freeman a bit more over the coming weeks. There is a charm, and peacefulness about his works, that mix a lot with John Lennon’s “Imagine”


    1. Thanks Adam, I owe a lot to Freeman and his thoughts, I think I’ll be quoting him regularly as his understated finesse to such simple story elements always gives me food for thought.


  3. A sad day in Christchurch indeed. Our thoughts are with our Kiwi brothers and sisters.
    Sounds like you had a relaxing time down the coast and the Freeman book and other works are good reading/viewing.

    Cheers DN

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, we don’t work as photographers in a vacuum, but each encounter with someone else’s images give us pointers for our own work. Such I find is Freeman Patterson.Just need to be reminded from time to time of how the basics give us a springboard for new explorations of ourselves


  4. Thanks David for an interesting insight into this inspiring photographer come psychologist. I love his chook image, how clever and amusing. We are enjoying a week of solid rain, which we hope will break the drought for us here on the coast. From your post it appears maybe you are getting wet there also. Enjoy your week!


    1. Hi AB, yes he is a most interesting character beyond his photographic work and teaching, In one of his latest newsletters he explores the idea of reconnecting with his childhood, and redesigning his thoughts from it all. I guess as we get older that becomes a tad easier.
      His work with David Maginley is an interesting co-operation of involvement with the human condition. Intriguingly illuminating as it not two areas that I would have naturally concluded were mutually enhancing. (and coincidently, apropos to the Christchurch incident)

      All good.
      The weather while we were away was not raining, just overcast, windy, and uninviting.
      Last few days have been kind sunny and in mid 20s.
      Love Autumn.
      Keep takin’ pictures, we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It seems that these days we are much less at risk from the Muslim “terrorists” than we are from the extreme right-wing “nationalists”. A sad day indeed

    Liked by 1 person

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