As I start counting down the days (7) till I pack the Hotel Nitro and head west to Utah I’m starting to immerse myself in thoughts of photography. I’m headed to Moab to spend a long weekend with some of my cohorts for the Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers 3rd Annual Spring Fling. It’s a chance to see old friends, meet new friends, and talk about all things photographic. I look forward to these get togethers every year and this one is no exception. We’ll probably drink some adult beverages and, hopefully, create some spectacular images. Can’t wait.
As I get deeper and deeper into what I call “the zone” I’m starting to look at images. Online, in the newspaper, in magazines, anywhere I can find the work of other photographers. And that’s what has me concerned.
I don’t know how it happened but my daughter got snagged by some website that set her up with subscriptions to several magazines one of which is American Photo. I’ve looked at this mag over the months and I understand that as a photographer of Nature I’m not exactly their demographic. This magazine is a forum for hip and happening photographers. Virtually every image in the mag has a photo credit describing which hoity toity gallery in New York or Los Angeles each photographer has their work displayed in. While it’s true that when I worked in the photo biz I would shoot anything that paid a buck, the images that typically appear in American Photo are not the types of images I want to create. I’m not saying it’s not good work, just not my style. Until now.
Looking through the most recent issue (I’ve looked all over the damn thing and can’t find a time reference) has been an experience I’ve never had before. Of all the images in this issue there is not one, NOT ONE, that I find attractive or even interesting. I don’t like a single image in this issue. I’ve looked at thousands of magazines and tens of thousands of photographs since I pointed my life down the photographic path in 1976 and I can’t remember a single time I’ve felt this way. Every magazine, every book, every exhibit I’ve seen in the past has had at least an image or two that caught my attention but not this one. There is no technical wizardry, no stylistic excellence, no revolutionary composition techniques. It’s just a waste of paper and ink.
Over the decades I’ve created some pretty nice images and I’m very comfortable with my ability as a photographer. I’ve never been tagged as a visionary nor have I been described as an artist and I’m okay with that. And if American Photo is any indicator of what is hip and happening in the world of photography, I hope I’m never tagged with those titles. I just want to keep creating images that please me. Look out Moab…RMNP is on the way.