Photography is not something I have been doing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. However, I have always been fascinated with the shapes and shadows of things, the ever-changing nature of light, and the beautiful patterns made when light filters through the structures of man or nature.
It was that fascination that led to the purchase of my first camera when I was eighteen. This was 1969, my father was in the MACV (Military Assistance Command in Vietnam) Program, and our family lived on Clark Field Air Force Base in the Philippines. There I learned to scuba dive and became mesmerized by the splendor of light streaming through the restless, liquid medium of the South China Sea…its rays flickering along the bottom, highlighting the translucence of various sea creatures, and gleaming off of the reflective bodies of fish. So, we went to Japan and I bought a Nikonos II underwater camera!! This camera today gathers dust in my closet, but I cannot think of it without recalling both my attempts to capture beauty undersea and the fact that many of my dive companions were airmen already living with images of darkness.
My old camera has a life of its own; it has been places; dark places and light places, and when I touch it memories flow. I feel exactly the same way about photographs. It is tempting to look at a photograph as merely a technical capture of the reality in front of the camera lens. What is viewable on paper is the whole story. Right? Not quite! Every image has a story behind it…a story of creative vision, a story of interaction with the scene, a story of adventure, a story of supreme joy or even a story of how fast you raced back to your truck in an attempt to outrun voracious, blood-thirsty mosquitoes while trying to capture the beauty of the Everglades on an oppressive summer day! Whew! Yes, a photograph is more than a record of what something looked like at a particular moment in time; it has a life! With this photo journal I’d like to share that life…the life of the image!
In closing, enjoy this quotation by Roy J. Cook, editor of my favourite book of poetry “One Hundred and One Famous Poems.” The quotation is from his preface and I include it here because although written of the need for poetry, it also translates to the need for retreat into the natural world and why we love the great masters of scenic photography so much, such as Ansel Adams and his modern descendants in the art, as Clyde Butcher here in south Florida:
“There are souls, in these noise-tired times, that turn aside into unfrequented lanes, where the deep woods have harbored the fragrances of many a blossoming season. Here the light, filtering through perfect forms, arranges itself in lovely patterns for those who perceive beauty.”….Roy J. Cook