|Different View Photography by Sean Purcell||
I first dabbled in photography because of work, not that I was a professional photographer by any measure. The camera was a tool in a kit used to freeze a moment in time for later analysis. Even then I learned, thanks to an incredibly patient instructor who has now passed on, how important it was to use aperture, ISO, shutter speed and various forms of lighting to successfully tell a story. Our job was to capture a moment that would never exist again. As Sam would say, “It’s only film. So shoot some more.” Now here I am a few miles down the road, no I’m not going to say how many miles, but it’s a few. I no longer use my camera for the same reasons but I find myself again striving to capture moments that will never happen exactly the same way again. Funny how things work out, huh? I created Different View Photography to share those frozen moments. Now days my camera gives me a reason to stop and look around a little more often. Look up and look low instead of simply looking in front of my feet. I’m learning to not just see a building but instead shapes the shadows are forming. Learning to not just see people but to see how they’re interacting. What about beneath that bush? Maybe there’s something interesting down there? Never know until you look. It’s funny how my former professions and life experiences seem to come together in photography.
So just when I started feeling good about an emerging eye for photography a friend wrote me and absolutely shook me to my core. What she saw in one of my images was not the mountain I had been on or an afternoon spent hiking frozen in data and pixels, but a feeling, a physical and emotional link to a loved one who had passed away. She actual wrote that she could hear his voice in the image. Wow.
Now I’d like to believe I successfully followed many of the photography “rules” and managed to capture a technically sound image but I simply didn’t appreciate how powerful my images could be as a medium for conveying emotion. Without that the image is flat…meaningless. So, duly humbled someone felt such a connection to one of my images I find myself feeling a sense of responsibility to do the very best I can with every single image. Beyond scrolling through the litany of “rules” before I push the shutter button I now find myself asking exactly what emotion do I want a viewer to feel? Will someone actually feel like they were here with me? If not, change something until they will. That leads to another question. How many different emotions can be portrayed in a single image? It seems to me there are as many different ways to interpret an image as there are people doing the interpreting.
While working a portrait shoot, wedding, party, or just out enjoying nature I owe it to the people kind enough to view my work to capture the emotion they want to display to the world. As I mentioned…humbling and a challenge I’m immensely enjoying. As a species we don’t look around us and see pixels and data. Even as children we learn to see emotions, feelings and social interactions. So here’s to capturing our world and the millions of different views around us. (shameless plug intended)