Photography lets you explore with your inner eye


Photography is fascinating to me because it’s both descriptive and symbolic at the same time. Descriptive because it shows you something that looks like the world and symbolic because the best photographs not only show you the world but also seem to reach beyond it, to speak of something more. A great photograph touches all sorts of things—other perceptions you’ve had, other things you’ve seen or remembered or felt. It’s that density of meaning that fills some photographs with feeling and makes them profound.

Leo Rubinfien

I don’t know what I’d do without photography. It’s my great escape and passion. All my life I’ve taken pictures: in my early youth as the family photographer; in high school experimenting with a 3-D camera; in all the newspaper jobs as well as in my teaching and public relations jobs; during travels across the county in the 80s photographing the amazing landscapes of this country from coast to coast; and now for the past 25 years, as an avid photographer and chronicler of my surroundings in the vicinity of Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve filled my Flickr pages with countless architectural, small town documentary photos, garden scenes, landscapes, bird photography, sunsets, flowers – anything and everything that interests me whenever I’m out walking in the city or in the parks and nature preserves I love so much. I use my iPhone camera exclusively now.

Photography is such a major preoccupation for me that I can’t imagine not taking pictures. I take pictures every day. Rarely does a day go by when I’m not out somewhere with my camera.

What Leo Rubinfien said about photography above speaks deeply to me and articulates what for me is the essence of photography: I want to record and document the world I love, particularly Nature in all it’s magical, astounding, mystical beauty, and by doing so reveal to myself and others what I value, where I’ve been, and what I want to share with others.

I’m fascinated by light and shadows, and the illumination of trees and landscapes in late afternoon, my favorite time to take pictures. In a sense, when I have my camera I’m looking not only for something to surprise me and marvel at, but also for some element in a composition or scene that is new or unique, but which at the same time draws me to it instantly, spontaneously, intuitively. I can look at it later and take in the meaning, the subtleties, the feelings they inspire. I take the photo because it comforts, calms, inspires and taps into some deep part of my unconscious, my psyche, my very soul. I see lighted portals and paths everywhere I go at the parks and gardens. My photographs are a part of me that I want to know again and again, and remember. They speak to me about feelings and memories that I hold dear, and about possible futures that I can only imagine now.

My passion for photography is lifelong. This is a passage from a journal entry written 40 years ago:

With each photograph, unique in its own way, comes a special  means of creating something that moves beyond the commonplace into the realm of complexity, being, and knowing. My poetry and short stories come only at times of extraordinary introversion, melancholy, and self analysis. Photography, though, does not have to be carried along by mood and temperament any given time. It is a release, a chance to create,  lest the creative process become inactive and wither. 

I’ve posted below some favorite photos that illustrate some of the ideas discussed in the essay. I haven’t gone far to take them. They are all from places nearby, the “terrain of the heart,” so to speak.

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March 25, 2023

Great pictures.  My favorites were # 14, #17, and #20.  But they were all good.  I came to the conclusion many years ago that art not only is about vision, but it also helps you to SEE.  I see that you see.  )


March 26, 2023

@onlysujema Yes, and thank you.  The camera significantly increases my ability “to see,” and that includes so much that I would not notice without my camera ready to record what I may, or may not, be looking for.

March 31, 2023

Do you take all your pictures with your phone or do you have a camera?  The only pictures I ever take now are with my phone.

I love all the pictures.  I think my favorite is the one of the puddle of water with the reflection of the tree in it.  That one is so cool.