I have recently begun to feel as though I am not really saying anything with my photography. I am not sure about the line between art and something that looks nice. Much of my work looks nice. The question is . . .Is that enough? I feel that I have somewhat of a mastery of composition, exposure, color, and the things that make a photography pleasing to look at. Now that I have those tools at my disposal, what am I doing with them?
I have been on a few photography trips that have expanded my horizons. I recently went to an abandoned silk mill. I tried to photograph the machinery and tools and the things that were left behind (nearly everything) in a way that lends dignity to the work that was done there. I tried to make it look as though there is still pride and strength left there by the workers. I also tried to make it look as though that may not have been enough. The mill closed and there was much heartache and anger when that happened. How is that to be captured by a photographer? There was enough there to enable me to picture in my mind how it may have been at its heyday. I am hoping that the images are more than images of machines and tools.
I also recently photographed an abandoned carriage house near my home. I am still working on those shots. As I was there photographing, I was thinking of how I wanted it to look. Secondarily, I thought about why I wanted it to look that way. I think I was going in reverse. I need to change gears more often and think about "why" first, then "how" next.
I have found that the further one's work goes from things that look nice to things that take a long step out, the audience for the work shrinks. Sometimes, a photograph is taken because the shapes or colors themselves are trying to say something, rather than be a representation of an object.
I know that sometimes a photograph is taken because it is going to look beautiful. I also know that the world has some truly beautiful things in it and they are to be captured in a photograph. I know that I can share my love of nature and form by taking photograph that relate to that love.
The essence of abstract art is to share a message through shape, line, color, and form. I need to think about how I can expand my work to be something different. I need to think about how to say more.