Thursday, July 30, 2009

Art and artists ...

So I have to confess that I’m pretty much just flat out a sucker for art. Pretty much any art, too. I’m an incredibly lucky guy because I run a company called Pictage, a service organization dedicated to helping professional people photographers succeed. That means I get to actually contribute in some small way to giving them the freedom to explore their art/profession. That’s pretty cool and it definitely fuels my tank.

But last night I found myself getting positively misty watching “So You Think You Can Dance!” Not with the judging or anything like that. I wish they all could win but that would be bad for ratings. Just watching these people perform is incredibly moving to me. They’ve practiced their hearts out since they were kids and they have a deep seeded talent that simply compels them to dance. I can’t dance. Not like that anyway. I like to dance, so long as it’s dark and there is a sense of anonymity, it’s a fun way to express joy. But these people, through their art, find ways to connect so much more. That moves me.

I like to watch people paint, but I don’t like paintings all that much. I don’t know why. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful works in the world and I think I’m just unable to appreciate what it takes to make a beautiful painting so I just look at it and think -cool - and move on.

Singers and musicians move me easily. As a musician myself it’s easy for me to ‘get’ how hard the easy looking things they’re doing really are. It’s a rare concert where I don’t find myself at some random point celebrating their talent and the joy of their success with a tear or two.

With all of that said though, and it’s not because of Pictage, there is something about photography that I find transcendent. I think it’s because these are real things and real people and real moments. I’ll even stop and look for a while at a particularly good fashion photograph or tabletop image of a watch or food or whatever. I find myself staring at them and wondering, Canon or Nikon or Leica? Who knows, these days maybe a Sony, Video? Whatever. 50MM 1.2 or fisheye? Where’s the light source? Who’s eye was on the viewfinder? What were they thinking? I wish I could do that.

Images of places move me, too. Whether far away or nearby, nature or city. Clean and natural or gritty. The subjects almost don’t matter. I just like to stare.

Images that capture real moments though, these are the ones that tie me down. I can stare at these and wonder on both sides of the lens. I can be the photographer and frame it and see it and feel it. I get the light. I know the feeling of waiting for someone to turn their head just a bit to the left and hearing the click and knowing without looking, because when I learned there was nothing to look at, that you’ve got something special, captured in the camera in your hands.

And I’ve lived long enough now to know the other side. I know the joy of birth and mirth and marriage. I know the fullness of life with friends. I know the sting of death. I love that art is a gateway to these moments in our minds and I celebrate the artists who render it just so ...


shawnreeder said...

Very inspiring Jim! Thanks for sharing.

Jules Bianchi said...

Jim, I like the way you think.