The life-long pursuit of the next great image
I have been on a quest…, for the past four decades. And me thinks I’ll be on this quest for many years to come. Not quite as “out there” like Monty Python’s Holy Grail, but close. Yes, the Quest for The Next Great Image still has a hold on me.
I have seen so many wondrous things through the lens and many that just make you stop and say “Huh?” out loud. The joy in all of this is that there is plenty of fodder for interesting (at least to me) conversations and stories. As it has been said before; it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters.
I suppose I should give you a little background first. I fell in love with photography at the ripe old age of 12. My dad had given me his Agfa Ambi Silette 35mm rangefinder with three lenses and my grandfather had given me his Polaroid Land Camera. I was in heaven, as I had finally found a medium that I could create with as my mind’s eye saw. Previously to photography, I was into drawing and spent many hours a day working on the kitchen table, my desk or my grandfather’s drafting table. The big issue was that everything I tried to draw would wind up becoming an airplane, a motorcycle or a car of some sort. No matter how hard I tried to capture nature and the human form, it eluded me.
Once armed with my trusty camera (and there have been a lot of them over the years!) I could go out into the world and create to my hearts content. But I found that no matter how nice the images looked or the compelling story they told, I always felt like the next time would even be better. Please don’t get me wrong; I have had the good fortune to produce some very compelling images over the years, even published in a wide variety of publications. My clients have usually been quite thrilled with what I am able to produce for them (especially on those next to impossible deadlines and small budgets!) and people enjoy viewing my images. It is me that is my worst critic. I imagine that some of you are also your own worst critic, too.
As I approach each new day, and another chance to create images, I do my best to see things from a different viewpoint. Sometimes I change things up entirely just to see how it comes out. Like hauling a station wagon load of lights and modifiers out to photograph caterpillars feasting on milkweed or taking a walk with just a fisheye lens on my camera and capturing my usual locations with a different look. And portraits can look real interesting when shot with a fisheye!
So as I get ready for another crazy week of sittings, events and meetings to photograph, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for that elusive next great image!