…but at first, I didn’t really even think I was going to touch this shot. The raw, unedited picture (which I can’t be bothered to post on here because it’s on my laptop, which is all the way downstairs, and I don’t really want to leave my computer chair right now :p) was completely washed out, slightly more tilted, and the highlights were blown to hell. Wasn’t really an obvious keeper in a day that was full of some other really nice portrait shots taken with my snazzy 50mm f1.8 lens.
Actually, I think I was just trailing behind at the end of our hike back down from the peak of the Stairway To Heaven in Vernon, my tiny kit 16-50mm screwed onto my Sony, just randomly snapping pictures out of slight exhaustion when I got this.
Not exactly an honest shot – the sky was starting to unfold from an otherwise dreary and overcast day in these light pinks and oranges, but nothing as cinematically sepia as this – but I like what came of trying to make something out of a picture that I normally would have tossed.
With all the talking that I do about storytelling and how much it bleeds into every medium I work with, you’d figure that I’ve had that as my goal for the entire time I’ve been doing photography. Truth is, it really wasn’t always the case. I actually wanted to work exclusively with street photography for a while, and spent a lot of time in the city trying to pull that off. Of course, if you look at my Instagram (shamelessplugshamelessplugshamelessplug), you wouldn’t really be able to tell that – there’s not a lot of street on there at all.
That isn’t to say that I don’t like street photo – I think it’s great. It’s something that storytelling is involved with, but in a different sense than what I try to pull off in my photos. Where I can, I try to create a bit of a “hard narrative” with my work. There’s got to be some kind of visible story in play, whether it’s implicit or explicit, and more often than not, it’s down to me to sort of make one. That isn’t to say the moments and memories in my photos are fabricated – it’s just that I’m almost always wholly entwined into the narrative, and I’m trying to bring it out with the editing, or the shot composition, or the people, or the objects, or the setting.
You don’t have that much control in street photography because you often hold the place of an observer, not an active participant. When you start out, you quickly realize that a big portion of your success while you’re out there shooting falls to whether or not you come across something cool while you’re wandering around in the city – not to mention the absolute necessity that you get your camera up in time to catch it.
And after another while, you start to figure out fast that just whipping your camera out and shooting pictures indiscriminately into people-dense spots in the city isn’t really going to cut it either. The shots can be solid, but more often than not, you end up with something that feels a little hollow – snippets of the very end of moments you catch by chance, looking past the shoulder of the stranger walking in front of you.
Again, this absolutely isn’t to diminish what street photographers pull off. Their pictures are really what drew me towards the medium to begin with. It takes a sniper’s eye, quick hands, quicker creative chops, and a solid understanding of your hardware and software to do this well, and it’s still something I dabble in whenever I find myself tromping around downtown NYC or Hoboken. But it’s definitely not what I love shooting the most, you know? Maybe I’m a control freak, maybe I’m too attached to the hopeless personal nostalgia that I get out of looking back through my shots, maybe I’m not just built for it.
But I have to admit, it does get pretty addicting sometimes.
Introductions, introductions. They’ve always been a bit of a weird thing for me to write, being that it’s just all too tempting to just slap my work up there without prompt or prelude – sort of a shout into the void just for the sake of shouting. Writing up until this point has always been that sort of thing for me – something I just do for the sake of doing. Something I do because it’s something that I’ve always had what I consider to be a decent level of talent at. It’s always seemed so romantic, so grand, the idea of being a sort of creator. A crafter of worlds, like some sort of spiritual heir to the people long gone that would gather the waiting and curious around campfires or the sides of busy streets and capture their imaginations with words. I’ve always wanted to be the storyteller – the voice that holds the listener captive.
But the game has changed, and there are more voices out there now. Everyone has a story to tell, and the very idea of being heard seems more like a toil and struggle instead of a personal promise. It’s only been recently that I’ve realized that personally, I’ve needed (for lack of a better way of saying it) a goal to focus my goal. Something to work towards while still fixating on that far-off point in the distance of “be a good writer”. That’s what Fernway is for me.
Fernway being, well, all of this. This blog, the FernwayFilms YouTube channel, and both the Tacticalsnaptical and Dizzycadence Instagram pages – all of it serves as the creative outlet for myself and Patrick, my partner in crime with this venture. It’s a minuscule blip on the radar of the world right now, but it’s what we intend to pour both our individual passions into – this creative center that we want anyone to be able to enjoy and appreciate.
Here’s to starting in earnest and telling stories.