Saturday Evening Post #185: The Magic of Being There

Some interesting comments came up last week from the way I curate my library of photos.
It’s hard on a single page to cover all the ins and outs and to not sound like setting some rules. I guess I was taken by the number of recent blogs and newsletters that have now made a change from ‘save everything’ etc.

There is of course the another side to why we take, and what we share photographically. As Mr. An Onymous is oft to say, “Just being out there in the field is enough. Birds are a bonus”.

Photography is so good at providing a visual memory of a holiday, party, event or field trip. Looking back through my library can provide a feeling of the time we spent in a location, the birds, the weather, the company and the enjoyment.

I found this quote from Sarah Leen who was (is?) Director of Photography at National Geographic.

“It (Photography) has been the way that I have experienced much of the world. In a deeply personal way I feel an image is a poem about time, about “staying the moment.” Photography can defeat time. Images can keep the memory of a loved one alive, hold a moment in history for future generations, be a witness to tragedy or joy. They can also change behavior, stimulate understanding and create a sense of urgency that will move people to action. Photography is the universal language that speaks to the heart.”

To me photography has always been about storytelling. The eye of the photo-journalist at finding both the story and being able to bring it to the page.

Storytelling goes back to the earliest days of photography. One of the very first ‘war photographers’ was an Englishman named Roger Fenton. He was appointed the first official photographer for the British Museum and in 1855 spent time in the Crimea photographing the war. One of his most (in)famous photos shows the also infamous “Valley of the Shadow of Death” (Yet we need to be careful, as this is not the site of the equally infamous charge of the Light Brigage)
It has a most interesting history in that there seems to be two versions. One with cannon balls on the roadway, and one without.
The question arises did he have them placed for dramatic effect or cleared away for pictorial feel?
This is a good review
Either way it is part of his storytelling and adds to the story in a graphic detailed way.

So yes, my library does have lots of shots that will never be acclaimed, but as I review them from time to time, the magic of being in the presence of the bird is a heartwarming experience.