On the rocks and a photo essay

I love rock piles, I really do, whether stacked neatly as a landscape feature or just a pile.  Rock piles are also very challenging to draw, for me they are.  But I love the challenge.  There is so much going on visually, as humans we see the cluster of shapes and we know it’s a lot of rocks.  As an artist when we look at the pile we start seeing all the individual shapes, the shadows, the lines, and the surface texture.  When I look at all the lines and shapes I want to beak it down to the simplest shapes and patterns.  I don’t want to add all the detail and texture.  I’m not trying to capture every line and edge.  I think cameras are good at doing that.  For me the challenge is to capture just enough shapes and contrast that the viewer can look at the finished drawing and know they are looking at rocks.

Rocks in pencil 061919-1

A few years ago I would have grabbed a mechanical pencil and painstakingly drawn every edge and line, every blade of grass, and tried to add all the texture.  I could have spent hours working on it, and I probably would have had a nice drawing when I was done.  But today I’m much happier grabbing a nice wood pencil, or two, or three, and just getting a loose interpretation on paper so the viewer – you – can understand what I am seeing.

It’s not an issue of time and being speedy, it’s more of the process of capturing what interests me in a scene with just enough information to tell the story.  And I think this approach also conveys more of my personal style and handling of the pencils.  But that’s just me.

Lately I’ve been watching a few videos from Paul Taggart on photo essays, his website can be found here and his videos are available on LinkedIn Learning, and I’m now itching to dust off the old Canon 60D and do a little photo storytelling myself.  I haven’t picked a topic yet, but the thought of telling a story with just images sounds really appealing.

Canon 60D 061919-1

For me, the joy of photography is being able to capture that one moment in time that can never be repeated, if you don’t get it, it’s gone.

That’s pretty much the exact opposite of drawing and painting.  When you draw or paint you can edit as you go, if the moment is missed it can be added.  With the camera what you see is what you get.  Yes you can edit in Photoshop, you can remove things and fix things, I do that all day long at work, but for my personal fun photography I don’t use Photoshop.  I’ll use Lightroom to do a little light adjustments, but that’s it.

When I was going to art school our only option was film, there were no digital cameras.  We didn’t have the option of removing things afterwards.  If there was something in the frame we didn’t want we either got up and removed it or we moved ourselves to find a better angle.  I do miss shooting with film, I really do.  There was something so honest about film, with digital photography, anything can corrected.

Well that’s all the rambles for today…thank you everyone for reading through my thoughts and giving me a few minutes of your time

Take care…Erik




4 thoughts on “On the rocks and a photo essay

  1. The rocks are like organizing the disorganized? Only pics I do are digital and I do try to focus on the part that attracts my attention as I try to do in sketching. All fun and challenging.! As Austin Kleon says KEEP GOING. Enjoying your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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