Three Birds on a Bluff
My interest in photography for the first six years or so was in fine art. In those days most of my work was still life and that was how I came in the back door as a commercial/advertising photographer. I wasn’t looking for commercial work but an art director had seen my still life work and asked if I would be interested in photographing a campaign she was working on. I accepted. That first assignment was glassware and I learned a lot about back light. Digital didn’t exist then but we had Polaroid. Glassware can be quite difficult and I think I shot about 40 sheets of 4x5 type 59 before I went to film. The agency used the shot in a magazine and the client thought it good enough to run as a still for television.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Follow the money.” Well, that is what I did. I opened my own studio and that move allowed me to have a commercial business and work on my fine art photography at the same time. It was the best idea I ever had as both sides, commercial and fine art photography, informed one another in a positive way for forty years.
I now have the luxury of spending all my time on fine art photography once again. As much as I love getting a great idea, setting it up and then seeing it come to life as a beautiful photograph I’d rather spend my time photographing something genuine, something totally REAL. Real things are going on all the time right in front of us.
I could hardly believe this scene when I walked up on it. I froze in my tracks because the seagulls began to prepare their wings for flight. I waited a minute for them to lower their guard and slowly raised the camera and bracketed three shots. For me, it’s the natural design that makes this shot so wonderful. An art director could not have placed these birds in better spots and that missing horizontal bar? ... what are the chances? It takes an open mind and an unfiltered eye to take advantage of these gifts that are just handed to us. That Zen training I took when I lived in Japan has also helped quite a bit.