So, let me paint a picture.
My professor gave our digital photography class an assignment to photograph 6 times a day; before sunrise, midday, afternoon, sunset, twilight, and night. Which I thought would be so easy, I mean its just landscapes, they don't give you near as hard a time as portraits who only have one good side right? Wrong.
I never realized how much time I spend in the daylight hours working or being in school. I literally miss the sunset every night locked away in the studio. So heres the scenario, I have to get the perfect photograph of a sunset, and the sun is quickly descending upon the land. Unfortunately for me charlotte traffic is bumper to bumper backed up in rush hour, so I accept with defeat that I am not going to make it to my preferred location in time. I panic because this assignment needs a sunset, its required, its in bold. So I quickly and hastily start looking for places on the side of the road that I can take pictures that would appear that I thoughtfully chose my location. And then I see it, a transformer on the side of 49 with all of these wonderfully geometric power lines and angles. Perfect.
I see a turn that looks as if it will lead to a service access across the rail road tracks, and as I'm driving this road, I realize I have made a wrong turn and have stumbled into someones farm. Oops..
As I try to throw my corolla into reverse to get off a strangers property, two flustered men came out from the barn, and the internal thought process kicks in like oh crap how do I play this off, but I suck at lying so I just told them the truth. That I was a university student who has to take sunset photos and I was trying to get over there, but now I'm here.. can you help me? The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me in the south, because instead of blowing me off, He not only pointed me in the right direction of the transformer I was trying to get to, he also let me photograph his farm.
He gave me a ride in the tractor to the cows its a cattle farm, and also to the lake. I got to meet Eve who was just born the day, he even gave me permission to come back and get additional shots. The experience was so unexpected and wonderful that I threw out my entire previous project and decided to focus solely on this farm.
The house, although no longer lived in, was built in 1930 when the property was first established. It had this beautiful ephemeral vacancy about it, with the chipped paint and slightly ajar doors. The only living things on this farm were the animals, which was a beautiful thought, you could see that they were truly cared for by the farmers that come in to check on them. The cattle was able to roam the lands unlike most beef farms which I appreciate.
Something drew me to this property, Its so strange that in the university area near 85 there is the beautifully overlooked farm across the rail road tracks. The photos shown above are from my final project, I am still so surprised that I was able to experience this farm and its cows so closely six different times a day, and I feel lucky that I was truly able to connect with my work.
The Challenge of the self portrait Being a photographer and a visual artist allows me the time to observes, discern and witness the beauty and the imperfections of all the people and places around me while I try and capture the essence of the thing itself. Weather it be with a paintbrush or behind a lens, there is a great deal of scrutiny that goes into creating a portrait; and this critical eye is even more analytical when the camera is flipped around facing me.
Sometimes it hard to open up Photoshop and begin working tediously on an image of yourself, at least this is my experience. This is mostly because I don’t want an unsightly image circulating of me, but I also don’t want to change my appearance for mere aesthetics.
My biggest advice that I can offer both for myself and other photographers, is to work towards creating an image of yourself that encompasses your personality, emotions, thoughts and ideas. Create something that represents you, even if its not a physical photograph of your face or body. Self portraits mean much more than a simple mirror image of a magazine cover aimed to portray your best self. No, photographic art is much more than that, its no just something you take, its something you make.
Today I was able to convince a few friends of mine to venture uptown with me for a photoshoot. After all, Its a shame that we live so close to the city and never truly experience it aside from the nightlife scene and museum hotspots.
The four of us parked at a fairly known location and set off across the tracks in search of an interesting urban landscape. We walked in the opposite direction of the metropolitan city, under a bridge and found what we found was what appeared to be a parking lot and demolished building, however, on the crumbling walls surrounding the bleak cracked asphalt covered with litter and broken glass, was the most impressive graffiti art.
Although the trash heaped in the corners of the lot, and empty to-go containers scattered the pavement, we found it an alluring place to capture the side of the city no one cares to really see. There was no waste management here, no city beatification projects conspiring by the benefactors of the metropolitan area. Although we found the there to be great beauty in the landscape that we found and photographed, there was also a forlorn melancholy to the area, as we watched what appeared to be the homeless population huddle under the bridges, and cross these forgotten graffitied parking lots to other destinations.
on a better note, while we were taking photos, posing, and climbing the crumbling walls of this infrastructure we met a nice man who is a native to the city and felt comfortable enough to talk with us for a little while. He told us that the best place to find graffiti was the railroad tracks a mile away, thats were he said her did his best work. He was also king enough to let me photograph him.Although we didn't get to the railroads today, it seems like a place we would have to return to next time we drive out to the city to check out more graffiti art.
There was something so enchanting about these public displays of art that are hardly ever seen by the public, almost forgotten.