And so what works and what doesn't work?
This is an image of my son, Ben when he was just two years old. It works for me but does it work for anyone other than me and his mother? It's hard to say. I love the pose and the way the light comes through the big double french doors that face north. I love the way his left arm supports him. I love the way his toes look and the intent engagement of his eyes. But is there something universal about the image of a child?
The image was shot with a 45mm lens on a Contax G2. I used a 400 ISO black and white film and I'm certain I shot this at f2 or f2.8. The images was grainy to begin with and this is a scan of a Fuji die sublimation print. Does the look and feel transcend the technical limitations? Would this be a better image if I'd shot it with a D3x or a Canon 5d mk2?
Sometimes too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. What if I brought an Elinchrom strobe in a big softbox outside the window and pulled a fill card into the other side? What if I shot with a camera that had no noise? It's all academic because I didn't do any of these things and yet, I still have this image tacked to the way behind my monitor where I can see it any time I look up. And what I see reflected is calmness and content and potential. He's 14 now and the print endures. It's a reminder of the arc of my life.
When I look at the wall behind my monitor it has photos that mean something to me. A print of five year old Ben at a coffee shop with a hot chocolate. Ben in a big chair at Starbucks. Ben as the smallest kid in the line of kids waiting to race at the swim meet. A photo of his mother with the same calm and content look. My friend, Anne Butler, looking timeless and regal. A fireman holding his small baby in his arms.
Do these images mean anything to anyone else? Does it matter?
I read on forums where people ask "What should I shoot? I'm bored..." and it amazes me. There is so much beauty everywhere. Who has time to capture it all?