Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Topographics

I imagine everyone has struggled with finding a purpose in one's life. I do know that when I take my last breath on my last day, I want to know that I've made a difference, and that I am leaving something behind (besides my dust).

I've always felt like a kid and I have never known what it is I want to do when I grow up. I've been successful at several careers, Navy, writing, publishing, printing, web design and banking. Sometimes I worry that I am a Jack of all trades and Master of none. At any rate, I recently renewed a passion for photography.

My interest in photography dates back to the 1960s. I was in a dark room with a professional photographer who was developing a recent crime scene photograph. It was a picture taken at a murder/suicide. I watched him work in the darkroom - develop the film - prepare the trays with developer, stopper and water - load the negative in the enlarger - focus and snap. He put the paper in the developer tray and the scene slowly came to life - a woman laying on the floor in a pool of blood with her hand reaching out for a Bible. It was sad - teary sad - but, at the same time magical. There's no other way to describe watching a blank piece of paper floating in a liquid and having it come to life. It was mystical, and I was hooked. Over the years I have dabbled in photography, taking pictures and developing them. I've even sold several over the years.

With the recent digital advances two of my passions combine - computers and photography. I have a creative eye for a photograph - but, sometimes it needs a boost with photoshop.

I've recently been asking myself, what type of photographer? What kinds of photographs should I take? There are a lot of choices, landscapes, animals, kids, portraits, flowers, bugs, stuff, Art, etc. You get the idea...
I have recently discovered Topographics which is a movement which purpose is to document the erosion and disappearance of urban and rural America. A lot of the barns I photogrph in the rural areas of Iowa and Minnesota are falling down - years of neglect, perhaps a side effect of the mega farm, or maybe they're just old.

I believe I am going to concentrate on taking photographs which document man's negative footprint on the environment. And who knows, maybe I'll take a picture of a bug or even do a portrait along the way.

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