essays photography

missing photography

July 11, 2011


I haven’t felt much like a photographer lately–for various reasons, and despite my best intentions–but I have been looking at a lot of other folks’ work. That’s been good. I love to look at photographs; I have lots of lovely books and places to go on the web, and there are many wonderful artists out there, both famous and obscure.1

But, I do need to get out of this rut I’m in, and I’ve decided that what I really need to do is some printing. I love to print.2 One of the things that I’ve learned about myself over the years is that, if I’m feeling at a dead-end behind the camera, I should turn to the print.3 The magic of the print was how I got started down this road in the first place, and there are times when it’s good to go back to the beginning.

As a result, l’ve been going through a bunch of my work from the past six to nine months, with an eye towards creating some long-overdue prints that need to go on walls and into the post. This has naturally led me through images from the cross-country trip Liza and I took in early June.4 For me, this simple photo of my daughter, charged up to shoot with her 4×5 camera, and taken quickly with my iPhone on a cold and windy peak on the back side of the middle of Wyoming, will be the image of that trip. It’s not much, but I see a moment that has since become a touchstone for that short but lovely week (head colds and all). Looking at it reminds me why I can get so charged up about taking a photo, and why it’s such an emotional connection for me.

It also reminds me that I miss America, but that’s another story.

  1. Like Vivian Maier, who I think will be famous, if posthumously. I look at her work, especially her portraits, and find myself wondering what she was like, as a photographer. Did she talk about her work with friends over drinks? Or was she just obsessed, driven only to click, develop, print and stack?
  2. Yes, I know that Printerville is sitting over there, forlorn and unloved, but circumstances have dictated that I can only do so much. If you want to print photos, buy an Epson; they really do make the best photo printers out there, whatever your price range.
  3. My good friend Duncan tells me this. He also tells me I should be writing more too, so don’t be surprised if you get more of this down the road. And, if you look at no other photo this week, choose this one from Duncan. It’s hard to capture green that well. But wait! Don’t forget this one of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s glorious, and in such a quiet way that you know the moment was gone almost as the shutter was pressed. (Sorry, the Internet says no.)
  4. see this and that, if you’re interested.

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  • Reply Mike July 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    This was a good read, Rick. I appreciate your thoughts as much as your photos. I’ve also got another blog (neglected & forlorn) that’s more conducive to recording thoughts along with photography. Been thinking lately I should rekindle that. And, of course, there’s the domain I’ve owned for a year, but never done anything with…only so much time in the day, I guess…

  • Reply Julie McLeod July 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I enjoyed your post, Rick, and hope that you have more time (and inclination) to do more of this. Also, the image of your daughter is wonderful and reminds me I need to take more photos of my kids while they are still close….

  • Reply a life, photographed | 135 f/2 August 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    […] Missing Photography, July 11, 2011 ↩ […]

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