Saturday Evening Post #82: The Encounter

It’s interesting how as photographers we keep striving to make improvements to our vision or style. Finding a better way to approach a subject, explore new lighting options, wrestle with buying that ‘new’ lens that will give us a ‘better’ pictures or that new piece of software that will ‘uncover the hidden photograph in your collection’.

Many lightyears ago, in the days of filum, I was a member of a group of working photographers that would get together on an ad-hoc basis every other month or so, and generally we’d meet in a cafe in Lygon Street Fitzroy for a late Friday lunch, well it was a lunch that went late. Sometimes we’d bring along prints or tear-sheets for discussion. The last few times I remember taking the old iPad with a few pictures of recent making.

One of the house rules was it was a discussion on all things photography, from technique, to style, to equipment, processes, other people’s work, and future opportunities. Sometimes it was a bit like a parliamentary debate, other times more like a inspirational speakers session. Just depended on how much ‘red-ned’ was consumed during the course of the afternoon.

But one question, we all had to have an answer to was “Whatchabeendoin” What new image, vision, exploration or direction we had each been travelling in.

One of the group was oft to quote a verse from St. Matthew 6  “Behold, the birds of the air…. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin”
Gotta love that 1611 King Jimmie English.  “Behold”.  Not just make a glancing look or a peek, but drum roll, Behold!

He’d almost always bring it up when someone was lamenting the slow down of business, the ungratefulness of clients, or the problems of marketing a new product. His point was always the same, well, at least as I remember.
Bird’s don’t go to another lecture, another seminar on how to find clients for their song, they just sing. No bird has ever had to attend a month long session with a personal trainer on the benefits of correct nest building. No bird looks at its current situation and laments not having this or that opportunity to expand its business. They just do bird things.

No flower sits worrying about should it move overseas for a better market, change its colour or its style to match the ‘current trend’, nor does a flower seek out a self-help guru to improve its image.  They just continue to make the world a brighter place to live.

It is as Mike Johnson over on TOPS says, “Viewing an expressive photograph has the potential to be an occasion”
Most people see art as a static event. You go to a gallery, the sculpture is the same week in week out, the painting remains inert, the basket-weaving or quilted piece in unchanging. Ready to be reviewed, but never “Beheld”.

Yet as Mike goes on to explain, “It can also be an encounter. The potential to be an event in the viewer’s life”
We are so bombarded these days with visuals, sometimes very graphic visuals, that it all becomes a bit old hat.
Yet for someone who works behind the camera, takes the time to work through post-processing and ponders over the variations on a theme from a photoshot, the occasion of showing a finished piece is a gifting and the viewer’s response is part of that. It is an Encounter.



14 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #82: The Encounter

    1. Hi Derek, I love reading the older books and pondering their grasp of the English Language as a reall tool to express ideas.
      The King Jim didn’t become a classic because of its poor language. Although I read somewhere one of the earlier translators had chosen words that even a ‘plough-boy could understand’.
      I think lots of our current language is the poorer for reductionism.


  1. Gorgeous Flame Robin David, and a stunning encounter, you have the gift of being able to bring out the special somthing that makes the enhances the subject, the expression and the moment, making it a beautiful artwork that captures a moment in time, Flame on a wire is the classic shot for this bird, I think all of mine are on wire, but skill and craft are inspiring as is the final product.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All good Ashley, thanks for the kind remarks. I do try to chose Saturday Evening Pictures that are of a style I would have shown at those early long lunches. 🙂
      Not always great, but always part of what I am working on.
      These particular families work in an area where there is no forest and the fence lines and small bushes are their only real perches. As the seaon goes on, and they lose their ‘tourist’ interest in the area, they’ll be confident to hunt across the open paddocks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A beauty to behold indeed. And we do need to produce images that cause others to behold them. A never ending quest in these days of saturation of images. And we as photogs need to behold others work with a view to learning and improving our own work so that others will behold our work. All part of the creative growing process.
    On a side note, coming back from a quick trip to the PO this morning a Hobby was heard (although I could not see it) in the Powell Drive park. Last time I saw it was on our TV antenna some weeks ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, as a working photographer, I think its often hard to know if its possible to seperate ‘personal’ and business work styles. Or should they indeed be seperate. As in, “This is the creative photo style I’m working on.” and keeping that out of my client work.
      My first mentor thought them to be the same. And he would often give me Friday afternon as a self-development session, in or out of the studio.
      But Monday morning I had to have several prints and be prepared to defend my choices of technique and style. 🙂


    1. Thanks Eleanor, we have, of course, been worried that they might have been affected by the fires, and suffered losses. However the few hunting families we’ve been fortunate enough to find around the place, indicate that if anything they have had a bountiful season.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another inspirational read, David. I wonder if it’s not too much of a goodness for one session today. I just have to go back to this magical Flame Robin again. I’ve been staring at it for quite a while already and felt like falling in love. Oh no, and I’ve thought I’ll never fall in love again!

    Liked by 1 person

G'day, Please feel free to Leave a Reply. Now auto approved

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s