Archive for LensWork

The Evolution of the Photographer

Posted in Artistic Development with tags , , , , , on January 6, 2009 by Darwin

In Issue 79 of LensWork magazine I read an interesting quote from Brooks Jenson:

“I’ve often said of my own work that in my early years I tended to photograph for other people; in my middle years I tended to photograph for myself; and as I’ve matured, I find more and more I photograph in response to the generations of artists through the ages who have come before me”

For me, this quote resonated with my experience as an artist. As a younger photographer (20’s and 30’s), I shot with other people in mind. I wanted people to see what a ‘clever’ and ‘creative’ photographer I was. I was just hunting for accolades! Whenever I went shooting with other photographers the outing turned into a competition. It was all about who could make the best images. I was so preoccupied with watching what other photographers were doing and competing to be the best that I lost track of the reason I was shooting in the first place–personal expression.

Later, in my 40’s, I gave up trying to please others–or worse, trying to out-gun them! Instead I shot solely for myself. I turned inward creating images that were meaningful to me and that fed my soul. In the end, the only person I needed to please was myself. This phase continues today but I feel something more stirring inside….

I find I am in agreement with Brooks Jensen:  I think photographers end up creating their best and most memorable work in their ‘mature’ years.  A sense of history and place is coming over me. I want to create images that come from my soul but also give a tip of the hat to my artistic predecessors.  Who I am today is necessarily a product of those who have produced before me, and it is this realization that is somehow the most comforting for me. Darwin

Balsam Poplar Leaf in Allstones Creek