It's just a rock - 21-Oct-2017 - davekennedy


For these images, I was totally focused on the process of taking the shot, tripod setup, focusing low to the ground, adding filters, etc, and had tuned out the friends and family with me. At some point, someone said to me 'Hey Dave, it's just a rock!".

The point the person was making was that with friends and family around, why would I spend so much effort taking a picture of a rock, when I could be getting people shots? It's a dilemma that I still struggle with.

My father was an avid photographer, when he passed away, he had better than 50,000 slides, that came to me. I started the process of going through the slides. The very first step, was to check the slide, and decide, scan or trash. A key criteria for 'scan' was "is there a person in it?" If yes, it went to the scanner, if no, a followup question "was there other significance (photographically, historically) to the shot. I threw out thousands of shots. Dad had many different series of shots. Mailboxes, ships, wildflowers, fungi, ice, work, .... on and on, but the vast majority of these shots, never had another set of eyes on them. It was a very difficult process, knowing that I was destroying thousands of the items that caught his eye, but I also realized that very few, if anyone, would want to spend much time with them.

I did scan over 20,000 slides, and thus far, have filtered them down to around 13,000, some are up on this website. Mostly pictures of people, these are the shots that friends and family want to see.

So, the comment "It's just a rock" really struck home. My standard photo catalog has 28,000 images, and using the criteria that I used to filter, the vast majority would go into the trash.

So, why do I do it? Why spend the time taking a shot of rocks in a sunset, or doors and windows, or canoes? I guess it's all for myself. It becomes all about what catches my eye, what is interesting to me, and if no-one else ever sees them, and the hard drive gets reformatted, it's no big deal, because for me, its about being there and capturing the beauty I see..


(update)

Occasionally, I listen to the Lenswork Podcast, In the Nov 9, 2017 episode,  the podcast discusses quotes by W. Somerset Maugham in the book called "The Summing up" -  "In one way or another I have used in my writing, whatever has happened to me in the course of my life ,,,, " Brooks Jensen, the podcast owner then goes on to talk about that we need to photograph our lives.   Everyone experiences life differently, sunsets, interactions with people,  it is all our own, and we use it to make our art.


Something to chew on.

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