Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Conservatory and Photography

We went to the conservatory at Como park in St. Paul. It's a great "outdoor" indoor place to go on a winter day - full of light, warmth and humidity. As we walked in we were met by several young men with sketchbooks. An art class was having a field trip. The conservatory is quite the usual spot for artists and photographers. I have to admit that I've displayed a couple of photos I've taken there myself. After having sold some prints recently, I've felt encouraged to do real photography again. To me real photography involves film and chemistry and has at least as much to do with the forming of the print in the darkroom as it does snapping the shutter. I understand that some do digital as art; I'm just not one of them! I don't know and enjoy the digital process like I know and enjoy the chemical process. I mentioned in a post last spring that I think of digital photography as a kind of sketching. I can compose the image and capture it without going through the finishing process of development and printing that would make it a final print. It's a practice in seeing, more than anything.

The above is a small example. It's a kind of photography that I see in a lot in coffee shops, am very tempted by, but mostly avoid. The photographer's eye is attracted to beauty. Sometimes that beauty comes in the form of someone else's art and it's very tempting to photograph that art and make it into your own art. In a way there's nothing wrong with that. The photographed art is composed and executed in a way that is unique to the photographer and becomes it's own thing. It still feels like kind of a cop out to me, though. I don't think I would display something like this picture, but it was fun to "sketch."

These fish were the boy's favorite feature of the conservatory this time around. I had a hard time keeping Ezra from licking the rocks. They must have tasted good. Salty, maybe?


Anonymous said...

Paul Will,
I have always loved your photography and thought that your career would involve it. You have an eye for beauty and a talent for composition. I appreciate your work - and you.
Luv ya.

Natalie said...

Paul, you are a wonderful photographer! I love the pics you posted. Ezra and Gibby are so cute. I am glad I got to see you guys today. Have a great week.

Sara said...

Followed a link from Kevin and Abby's adoption blog a week or two back and immediately recognized your family from the drawing. We've both enjoyed reading about your family adventures!
Sara, Nathan and Olivia (formerly from Messiah)