It’s not as bad as it sounds really. In fact, it’s kind of a compliment I think. People come into my booth, seem to like my work, and proceed to tell me where I can go …………”to make beautiful pictures”. Often I am told to go out west, or to Canada, Alaska, Florida, even Europe. I would like to go to any or all of these places. Maybe someday I will. But to a certain extent, I think people suggesting these trips, as kind-hearted as they are, are missing what my work is about. I create images about the places and things that I have grown to love, admire, and want to share. I love their excitement about the places they have been. But, my work is a personal expression of what excites me, and place is not important to me. My approach is more on the order of a relationship with a Walden’s Pond – intimate, personal, but not grand. I like the simple, often overlooked, and familiar. I just don’t believe that I could go to any location once, twice, or even three times and come away with a feeling about that place enough to create the kind of imagery I hope to create. On the other hand, the imagery I make at locations I have been going back to for ten years or more, continually excites me.

I don’t photograph at East Coast locations, and primarily areas close to home, just because it’s what I can do. It is because it is what I want to do. No disrespect intended if I can’t share your experiences of a trip to Africa, Antarctica, the Galapagos or even Yellowstone. It’s just that what excites me visually often is what’s happening 20 miles away (or closer), not 2000 miles away.

I also suspect that most people don’t realize that the truely great photography done out west or abroad is the result of many return trips or even full-time residence in those areas. So I want to make great photographs where I reside or can go back to often. It is often said that writers should write about what they know, painters should paint what they know, I have found that to be true for my work as well. And, if the opportunity to go to Alaska presents itself – I’m there!

(c) Paul Grecian 2008 - www.paulgrecianphoto.com
(c) Paul Grecian 2008 - http://www.paulgrecianphoto.com

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7 thoughts on “People always telling me where I can go…

  1. & in the same vein, don’t overlook the details of your house…shadows creeping along during the day, angles looking through doorways, a random pile of “stuff”, etc. Since we literally live in them, it does take an effort to be conscious to be visually aware of what is normally filed away as background noise.

  2. Hey Marty,

    Being visually aware of what is sometimes dismissed as “background noise” certainly applies to a any location, a house as well as a favorite local woods. I’ve certainly enjoyed your visual discoveries.

  3. I totally hear you on this. Not just in photography, but with painting. I have a painting that’s been rejected from anything & everything I’ve ever submitted it to. It’s one of my favorites. The disconnect occurs where viewers are unfamiliar with one of my very favorite places in the world. I’d thought that even w/o that personal meaning to me, it was a solid image in its own right, but the “powers that be” seem to say otherwise.
    In a similar yet different vein, I get people asking (about my painting); “How long did it take to do that?” I know they think the piece is overpriced, or they wouldn’t ask the question. In reality, however, the piece is likely vastly UNDERpriced, they just don’t understand. My answer has become a standard, though; “30 years. That’s how long it took me to develop my ‘eye’ & my painting skills to this point, that’s how long it took me to learn about the subject I’ve painted,” etc., etc. They may not like it, but it’s the truth (& more often then not, they hadn’t considered that.)

  4. First of all that is an extraordinary photograph – a simple composition, but a glimpse into a seldom seen world of deer.

    Your statement rings so true and is something I have thought a lot about over the past couple of years. I realize that my best work is done close to home. When I travel to locations I’m often with someone else and have to cater to their schedule somewhat as well. There’s always a sense of urgency, a rush to capture a scene knowing that you may not ever get the chance to reshoot it in better light, a different season, or whatnot.

    An unfamiliarity with a location makes it more difficult to capture truly great images. Yes, they may be excellent to the majority of people that view them, but to me there’s always something lacking….the intimacy that only comes from living in a location.

  5. Paul…I’m completely blown away by what you’ve captured here. It gives me a serene feeling because of the calm water and the mist. I love that I can’t see anything else but the deer and the ripples in the water…gorgeous.

  6. Great post Paul. I feel very much the same way, although sometimes am jealous of some of the far away exotic spots. It is one thing to appreciate what you have at home, and also when going away. It is completely another, and frustrating, attitude that you have to travel to get great images, as well as meaningful ones.

  7. You are totally right. When you are able to really come to know places, you know when the wildlife will be there, where they will cross, what the light will be like at certain times of the day.
    I think what speaks to me most in your work is that you find and capture images that I relate to…. that remind me of places I know well, but can’t always see or have the time to go to. I like that you capture things I might see and notice – if I was at the right place and the right time.

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