On Philosophy of Photography

I have an odd philosophy about the relationship between myself and my subject matter. I spend a lot of time in nature taking pictures- of wide landscapes, massive waterfalls, intimate moments- and everything in between. It’s pretty humbling, because unlike with portraits or tv/film sets, the only thing I control is when I’m there. I can, and often do, plan ahead. Previsualizing the result, watching the weather, getting there at whatever time… I have ideas for shots that will only occur maybe one or two weeks out of the year, entirely dependent on the weather. One of my photos I waited six years for! Admittedly, part of it had to do with my own availability, to set aside a day or two to drive across the state. But that makes it more special to me.

I’m adamite about keeping my photos as close to real-life as possible, because I feel like sky replacements and aggressive color grading do a disservice to the scene. Say what you will of my compositional style, but I believe the last thing you should think about when you look at my photos is me. I don’t want to say anything, I don’t want to have to say anything. You are seeing what I saw, how I chose to see it. I just want to show you. I don’t want to aestheticize my color palette, I won’t add atmosphere or fog where there is none. Mostly because I want to know- I want you to know that what you’re looking at actually happened. If something looks unreal, know that I was just as stunned when I was there. I revisit spots pretty regularly, sometimes on a whim, just to see it in different conditions. When I capture something amazing, it’s just a testament to persistence and luck.

I have always said if I were ever to assemble photos into a book, I’d simply call that book “Witness”, because that’s all I want to be to the landscape. I, myself, am not important in that scope. I think it is a little disingenuous to editorialize my personal feelings, impose my mood, or pontificate about whatever inspired me to get out of bed that day in comparison. I realize, though, that it’s not very realistic. A successful photographer needs name recognition, and a book devoid of “personality” wouldn’t sell very well. So maybe there’s a middle ground. I’ll need to go looking for it and when I do, I’ll be sure to show you

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