Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to look at it more closely. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

Eclipse 2017

Eclipse 2017
Eclipse 2017

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Creating Photographs From the Heart

A number of years had passed since I last watched that movie, but recently I sat through another viewing and remembered it being as entertaining and revealing as the first time.  Some of you may have seen it...Mr. Holland's Opus...a story about a musician who temporarily falls back on his teaching degree until he can start composing his great American Symphony full time.  He ends up teaching for 30 years and during that time is transformed and changes the lives of hundreds of students.  One of those students was a young lady who struggled  with learning how to play the clarinet...hard as she tried...she just could not grasp what it took to master that instrument.  Then one day Mr. Holland asked her what she liked best about herself when she looked into a mirror...her answer was her bright red hair as it reminded her dad of the sunset.  Mr. Holland then told her to play the sunset...and removed the sheet music that had become the crutch that held her back.  Within moments, her playing was transformed into something that can only come from the heart.

Too often I fail to capture the photographs I feel in my heart...probably because I too rely too much on crutches that actually hold me back more than help.  Oddly enough, I discovered almost by accident what makes a great photo...and it's probably not what you might think.  The crutches we use result from too much worrying about the mechanics of the camera and not thinking enough about why we are there...what are we looking for...what is that inside of us that we know is there...but struggle to give it meaning...to give it a voice.

You see, photography is so much like music, that we too often fail to recognize it.  Photograph the music in your heart...might be somewhat of an unorthodox way of approaching the craft...but thinking in those terms just might be the catalyst that propels your photography to a new level.  Light is the mood generating notes of photography...but music becomes the melody of that light...and all photographic moments carry with it a silent musical score that photographers can feel from within.

Each photographic moment carries with it a different melody...unique in strength and power.  You know it when you see it...because you don't really see it visually...you experience it internally.  A photographic moment that sings or fills the air with symphonic crescendo's...will  in due course generate a photograph that carries a sense of orchestration...that is where the mood and atmosphere comes from.

Photography, if you stop and think about it, does closely parallel the mood generating effects of a great musical score.  Tapping into that power and searching for light that is filled with a great performance...well...you'll know it when it happens...you just have to give that silent music from within a visual voice.

Keith

3 comments:

Maureen said...

This is an incredibly beautiful illustration. I love the thought of finding the music in a photo, the melody filling the air. Powerful, thank you.

Maryellen said...

Every photograph you take has "heart" and you have created many masterpieces and the melody is captured so beautifully and resonates in my heart as I gaze upon them. Thank you for sharing your talent and for your ability to express so eloquently how to accomplish it ourselves if we only take the time to be still and listen with our heart.

Kristin Bridgman said...

Thanx for the nice comment...sorry I have not retunred the reply until now...