Dark clouds and driftwood at the beach of Bandon in Oregon USA
Since I first held a digital camera in my hand I have been wondering about what makes photograph a photograph. In my work from 1994 and until about 2000 I did a lot of experiments trying to analyze what photography is and what it is not, and in those experiments I also tried figuring out, how people tended to read photography. On top of that, I research if it did matter wether images where manipulated or not, or whether the use of different techniques to make the final photograph with, made any difference.
The conclusion in short, is that none of this matter at all. Each individual has his own background and based on that background they read and experience images, photography and other art form.
You can not learn photography by the numbers or by just doing the maths. As much as photography relies on mathematics, the number game in photography is just like the number game of moving one foot forward in baby steps.
You have achieved a step by getting your hands on a camera. By learning the maths of camera and how it works, you can achieve more steps, and by adding the effect of learning about lenses and how they perform, you take an other step, and soon you will start the walk towards image making.
Add to the equation a fundamental knowledge of light-sources and shadow play as well as developing processes in digital and film making and then the different outcome on various print media, you start to move faster and walk with out a thought.
Great photography is created through the fusion of body, mind, camera, technique, knowledge and experience and when all this forms a single element, at the right moment of time and is transfused with the "now" and the photographers Zen, the magic is born. If it then is nourished right, the end result will gain its own life and live independent from every thing but its own existance.
Photography is not a sprint nor is it a marathon. It is way beyond both, a life long distant run of endurance that only can be fully understood through examine the pure mind of joy you can see in the purest of heart of the worlds greatest long distance runners. The Tamarahumara indians of Mexico. The Tamarahumara running technique is so transfused with joy and inner peace that no competing western runner has manage to achieve the same. The Tamahumarans do not run, they hoover or fly above the earth and transform long distance running into art form.
They do not run to compete. They do not run to be the best. They run because the love it, they run with their heart, not their feet. With out thought, for anything, but the joy of running. That is why they outperform everybody else. That is why their endurance is so grate.
This is how a true photograph is born. With endurance. With out a though. United in the moment, the artist and the motive. In a share bliss of joy.