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. freemanpatterson.com 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