Friday, February 05, 2010

The value of the self-assignment

Now that Jay Goodrich has moved to the Pacific Northwest, he's intent on exploring every corner of his new surroundings. "I am now on a mission to create images locally and post them globally," he says. "Many photographers think it's necessary to travel to Africa or the Himalayas to create great images. Although these locations will undoubtedly yield amazing and inspiring photographs, a photographer does not need to travel there to be creative. In fact, a photographer needs to look no further than his or her own backyard.

"Photographer Boyd Norton came up with a great self-assignment in his book, The Art of Outdoor Photography - Techniques for the Advanced Amateur and Professional. He suggested taking a piece of string 10 feet in length and creating a 'territory' from which to photograph. The territory could be any shape, placed anywhere from our backyard to a local park, and we could shoot anything from within or anything surrounding it. In addition, we had to shoot a minimum of one roll of film or 36 exposures before leaving our territory. His point was that it would force the photographer to work harder to find something worth capturing.

"This idea has stuck with me for 17 years now, ever since the first time I read Boyd’s book. If his idea works, and I can tell you that it does, then a photographer can shoot anywhere, and I mean anywhere on this planet, and walk away with successful photographs. I think this point is becoming lost to many. You do not have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to travel to crazy locations to get 'the shot.' We can walk 5 feet and get one. This month I am showing several images taken within walking distance to my new Pacific Northwest home.

"For me photography is about -- well simply -- photographing. I would rather grab my daughter by her hand and go for a walk with a single lens and camera slung over my shoulder then just about any other activity on earth. Of course I love to travel to places in South America, Europe and the like, but that does not happen everyday, and my mission in life is to be a photographer. So I utilize everything within my power to achieve this goal every single day.

"I love the discovery of the journey. The slow paced walk along the beach to find a Van Gogh painting in some driftwood; or next to it, a log with the billowing clouds of a clearing storm. I have been seen with my 8-month-old son strapped to my chest, my photo pack strapped on my back, shooting the landscape at sunset at the beach three blocks from my house. I have been asked by neighbors what I was doing in the weeds on the side of our street. I have even grilled steaks as my camera shot 4-minute star trail exposures of the douglas firs above my head. I have found that the more images I create, the more creative I am.

"I am having more fun right now as a photographer than ever before. I can’t wait until tomorrow to see what I will find right outside my front door. Or maybe my back one? All of these images have been taken with one or more of the following Singh-Ray filters: LB Neutral Polarizer, LB Warming Polarizer, 3-stop Reverse ND Grad, or 3-stop ND Grad. My Singh-Ray filters have helped me find and further my creative vision, regardless if I am at home or in the middle of nowhere in some far off place."

You'll find Jay's new website and blog frequently feature images created with Singh-Ray filters as well as news on his various workshops and special projects.

1 comment:

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