Monday, June 15, 2009
Raindrops on Roses, Well, Okay, Pansies
I had a wonderful friend who was a photographer. I was in my teens and he introduced me to a number of concepts. He was my first adult cross-gender friend. As a teen girl, you might have 'boy' friends, but because they are never quite removed from the 'datable' pool, you are not quite as 'free' with them as you might be with girl friends. But he was married, a minister, and much older. Not 'datable' so more 'friendable'. He was also my first friend that was not my age. It never really occurred to me that you could have friends that were not your age. There were potential friends among people your age, and there were 'little kids' and 'old people'. But he and I became friends based on a shared hobby of photography. I traveled once with him and his family and on that trip, we photographed together. Mountain scenery, close-ups of wildflowers, people, each other, bits of strange folk culture, more scenery, more flowers. He taught me many things, technical and technique, but he also exposed me to the idea of a philosophy of art. He explained his 'rules' to me and made it clear that they were not the same as the timing-and-aperture-and-ASA sorts of technical things that were truth based, but that these things were clearly of the take-it-or-leave-it variety. He also make it clear that I ought to be developing my own artistic philosophy, a reason for doing it and rules that I would adhere to. One if his 'pet peeves', if you will allow me to use a phrase that is one of MY pet peeves, was photographers who faked things. You were not allowed to spray water on the roses or move a bug from one flower to a more perfect one or to snip off an imperfect leaf. You photographed it as you found it and if there was an imperfection, you either skipped that shot or you made it part of the photograph. So when I see a flower with a naturally occurring drop of water, be it from morning or evening dew or after a rain, I love to rush out there and capture the drops of water, smugly sure that I did not spray them there! It is my little tribute to my photographer friend and my little chance to remember the things we talked about and the special friendship that we had so many years ago and that we carried on by letter, actual hand written letter, about every year or so until he died. And yeah, it WAS his turn to write . . .