Friday, July 2, 2010

Daily Practice 183/365

Title: "tired of listening to the whispering rain"
(click image to view larger)
"Nobody can ever hide behind a camera. Accept the fact that when you make pictures you are revealing a lot about yourself." Freeman Patterson wrote those words in his first book "Photography for the joy of it". He goes on to expand upon the thesis that technical perfection produces pictures of low impact, without soul, because the photographer has focused on technique and avoided being in touch with their own emotions. I met Freeman back in the late 70s when he gave a presentation at the university where I was a student. Somehow we struck up a correspondence, and recently I came across a letter he had sent me (of course, now I'm having trouble finding it). Inside the front cover of his first book, I found a postcard he sent me in August of 1979, thanking me for "...a splendid and thorough reply to my letter. It will be very useful indeed." I have no idea what I wrote to him, and I suspect he was being polite in sending such a generous message.

At the time I met Freeman, my photography was fairly mundane and my technique was mediocre. I had been a yearbook photographer in high school who had been briefly shown rudimentary darkroom skills. I loved walking in the woods even then, but the images I made were quite pedestrian. I found Freeman's words in "Photography for the joy of it" quite inspiring, but it took many years of life experience, a long break from doing photography or making any kind of art, before I was able to return to art making ready to really understand what those two sentences above meant. I hope I find that letter Freeman sent me.

1 comment:

J. M. Golding said...

A poetic image and a wonderful story! I hope you find the letter too. One of my teachers strongly recommended Patterson's books, and I've found them wonderful to go back to again and again. Maybe it was he who said that every photograph is a self-portrait?