As a photograph, this one is quite ordinary. I’m happy with it however, in that it represents a departure for me in terms of the composition. It’s also a study in contrasts. You have an ultra modern locomotive sitting on track that’s approaching the century mark in age. I’ve been experimenting with black and white effects and like how this one turned out, even though I didn’t process the image according to the expert’s way of doing it. For now, it isn’t about the process as much as the experience of being out with the camera. There’s plenty of time for the technical stuff.

The Experience Or The Artifact?
I enjoy photography but I’m at a crossroads with it. I have thousands of mediocre images where I simply pointed the camera at something, tripped the shutter and hoped for the best. Lately, when I return home and look at the images on my computer, I wind up deleting the majority, if not all of them because they are just more of the same. The same angles, compositions and so on. I know I can do better and it’s frustrating to repeat the same methods again and again. The mature adult hiding in me says that I’m just at the beginning of this journey and that’s true. To expect accomplished results is premature for now.

I have a particular and natural way of seeing the world. I like close-up even intimate viewpoints, where I can zoom in tight on an object. These are often the strongest photos I shoot and I see these compositions easily. Others like a medium range shot or a panoramic wide angle view don’t come as easily.

This natural viewpoint is remarkably consistent. It goes a long way to explaining why quarter-inch scale and the cameo project feel like such a good fit for my modeling. It’s because they both reflect my close-up way of seeing the world.

A friend recently commented that he’s is astounded by all the stuff we have to go through in this craft before we can do much of anything with it. He’s right. We have a ridiculous series of hoops to jump through before the fun begins as most people define fun (i.e. operating). Reflecting on his thought, I wonder if we’ve confused the experience of the craft with the artifact that results from that effort? Is the point of our craft to fill a space with trains or to enjoy the experience? Is the point of photography to have a bunch of images to hang on a wall or to develop our vision and way of seeing the world? Is the quality of the outcomes in both dependent on the quality of the experience? Something to think about next time I’m looking for a composition to shoot.

Mike