Saturday Evening Post #117 : Feeling the Magic (part 1)

Got a note from David DeChemin the other day.

He asks the best questions.
“Do you remember the first time you looked at a photograph and you saw how powerful they can be?”

“The thrill when you felt something and maybe couldn’t explain it.”

Well, I can’t recall the first photo I ever saw that had that stopping experience. I can, and I’ve mentioned it here before, recall the the moment I walked into a newsagents and there on the front counter display was Steve McCurry’s green-eyed “Afghan Girl”  on the cover of National Geographic. An image that has probably moved many people.

Likewise, Gene Smith’s “Tomoko in her bath”. I chose Paul Neil’s website version as he too talks about the impact of the photo on his photography. He also explains how the image has been withdrawn at the family’s request.

My list is a bit longer but the one image set that I think drove home to me how powerful photography can be as a story telling medium, occurred quite early in my ‘career’.

A noteworthy event happened in the country town I grew up in.  Many no doubt will have visited the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement. (It was I think one of the very first of its genre in Victoria.)

The feature of the Settlement was to be the Paddle Steamer Gem.
Best ref I can find is a Pintrest series by the Pioneer Settlement. (No, sadly my pics are not there. 😦   )

As a very young photographer, I followed it for most of the day on its last journey as it was towed by the PS Oscar W.

Home I went, processed the film (It was a 120 roll shot with a Super Baldax camera), made some prints and my Dad helped to paste them on a board, which he took to work the following day.  Because of the interest of the moment, comments of course flowed.  And while memory is fading, I think I made a few prints to give to his work colleagues.
But what impressed me is, as David D says, “Photographs can touch us deeply. They can create experiences in our emotions and imaginations that we never forget.”

There is much said today about the best, “new camera, new lens, new software, new plugin”, and I fear that it is always going to be that way ,  while the art and craft of photography’s magic is put to the side while pursing the greatest, current, soon to be swept aside fashion- the next quick fix.

I’ve enjoyed the magic over so many years, and it still gives me goosebumps when an image  reveals, not just what I saw, but the way I saw it.

The Black-shouldered Kite was sitting quietly in the early morning light.  I could see the richness of the mist behind, the pearly mellowness that brings the subject’s character into a new view.  Took me awhile to manage to get the Lr sliders and effects working for me, but it was worth it to say, “this is the way I saw it.”

9 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #117 : Feeling the Magic (part 1)

  1. A truly magic image indeed, David. Images can leave a lasting impact on us, I can’t remember the first per se and I haven’t seen the last yet! One day I hope to create an image that will have that impact on others.
    Your comment about the latest lens, camera, edit suite etc, brings to mind a quote, and I can’t remember who said it in terms of photography, but I know that Australia’s own Chris Dodds and U2’s Joe O’Herlihy (both great, and I mean great Sound Engineers) have quoted it. A bad engineer/photographer will always want better gear while a good one will make great sound/images with ‘primitive’ gear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G’day, It is a posing question for a committed photographer. It also raises the issues of what and why we like a photo, but can’t recall another. My daughter’s wedding is an important photo, my first grandchild, for instance.
      But so is a black and white portrait of Mitzy my Mum’s dog from so many years ago.
      I really think it is stretching to be pushing to make that next great photo.
      Nature never forces anything to grow.

      You qoute is a good one, and a variation has gone through so many art circles. I may have been quilty of using it myself at some convention or other.

      Keep takin’ photos


  2. Lovely early morning capture David, the morning mist adds a special moment to the subject. Interesting how a photo can evoke such feelings and emotional response and how it can impact some individuals more than others. I have read autobiographies of how a photo evoked a response that drove the individual into the next creative, challenging and achieving chapter of their life. Thanks for sharing some of your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G,day Ashley, I bet there are lots of stories about a moment when someone’s life changed, because of a photo event.
      We are so overwhelemed these days with really averaage photos, that any real discernment is no longer there and no memory is retained.
      As Arnie said, in a recent video clip, ““The good thing is that he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.”
      And I think that happens to so much of the visual chatter that is posted these days.
      I was thinking of writing about the 10 top images I saw this past year, but truth be told, there wasn’t that many I was struck by.

      Still the art and craft is alive and will survive

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a dream of an image. The delicate light caressing the Black-shouldered Kite, the pensive pose, the graduated layers of backdrop.
    Your post makes me ponder what moves me in photography and what motivates me to search for magic. Thanks for another motivation. I’ve so much from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G’day Adam. We all learn from each other. I love photography because so much is a shared experience.
      Sometimes it good to pause and ponder. But, then its back to the field ever searching


  4. Such a beautiful image and interesting thoughts. I think the first time I was bowled over by a photograph was at an exhibition of images by Margaret Bourke White in the Gallery. I was very new to photography and I had never even heard of her, but the impact of her black and white images stayed with me always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Eleanor, what a great introduction to the power of photography with Margaret Bourke White. Her work always impresses me as it has a very strong visual appeal. The subject not being the critical element but rather the the centerpoint of the composition.
      She is credited with being the first female photographer accreditted during WWII
      Importantly a female photojournalist from about the same era is Gerda Taro (an invented nom-de-plume)
      She was said to be the first woman photographer killed in the field of battle (although an accident, not enemy action)

      Liked by 1 person

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