Thursday, October 23, 2008

Observational Photographer

I've always, like we all do, searching for the word(s) that describes me. It's the old question after we meet someone for the first time, "So, what do you do?" And we try to answer with short, cryptic words which summarizes our work to date. Like it really means anything?

For instance, I've always considered myself a geographer by education and a hydrologist by work, but it's really more than that. I'm innately a geographer. I'm a visual person, but more so, I see almost everything in terms of images and places. I see everywhere I go, not just seeing but remembering. I don't navigate by directions unless it's a place I've never been. I always navigate by scenes and places.

Geography is interwoven into my being, it's really that simple. And I'm a hydrologist by my career, but it's also more than that. I love rivers. Yes, I like being there and trying to understand them. But it's the flow of water that takes a whole new meaning to me. As a Taoist. It's a metaphysical thing. Rivers are just cool for themselves, and in and of themselves, and everything about them.

The whole dynamics of a river, the water, the landscape, the river course, the energy, and on and on. It's a Taoist experience. And that's interwoven in my mind.

But then I've always called myself a nature/landscape and street photographer, but that really not it. It was a handy description to use with people because they have an idea what and who that is. But then I found a term which fits the best. You know when something, like a word or a decision fits best when it both feels and thinks right?

And that is something Kent Budge uses. I'm an observational photographer. I take pictures of what I see. I try to capture and present that, what I saw. Nothing more and nothing less. Just what my photo-mind saw at that instant and decided to capture in the camera.

Almost all my street photographs are taken at eye level, looking in whatever direction I point the camera. The same is true of my nature and landscape photography, most are at eye level. I don't usually try to squat down or stretch up for a shot. I just see, capture and move on. Only occasionally will I spend more time looking for different angles or views, but almost always still photograph at eye level.

So, that's the best word I've found to date, I'm an observational photographer.

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