Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Worm

When Finley was a young, impetuous pup, he had a number of strange chewing habits. He loved to steal picture frames and chew the supports off the back. He loved to eat the binding off of books, especially leather ones, and a number of very nice Bibles bit the dust. He also had a bit of a bra fetish and snatched one whenever he was able so he could run gleefully through the house with me in hot pursuit.

We don't talk about that much.

Thankfully, maturity has brought wisdom, and with wisdom, an end to those puppy peccadilloes.

But now, another has risen to take his place in the book chewing department. Pearl, one of our cats, loves to chew on anything paper that has corners. Sadly, this includes all books, my stock of circular-shaped books being very low at the moment.

My mom gave me a new book on photography for Christmas, The Unforgettable Photograph, by George Lange and Scott Mowbray. Well, actually it was a joint gift and I am supposed to share it with my sister---which I will---eventually.  Pearly found it entrancing. Fascinating, even. In short, she devoured it.

She wasn't the only one that enjoyed the book, though I chose to do it in a somewhat less literal sense. I must confess that my ego found it a little simplistic the first few pages---you know, the whole "I already know that..." kind of thing.

But I ended up really enjoying the book, in part because of that self same simplicity. It wasn't about the technical side of photography. It didn't try to teach me how to be a world-famous photographer OR rub it in that I could never hope to be a world famous photographer like him.

"You can feel the flow of moments, like feeling the flow of music. That feeling is essential to taking good pictures; it's as important as having a good eye. Ask yourself. 'What makes this moment and these people extraordinary?' Ask that, rather than, 'What's the pose?' or "How am I cropping this?'"

The book simply encourages its readers to love pictures and to use them to tell their own story. It was a fun reminder to throw perfection to the winds and just get out there with a camera. To be in the moment, thinking and feeling---then to try to capture those thoughts and emotions in a photograph. Most of all, to have fun telling my story.

And right now my story is cold. And snowy.

There really isn't much else to tell in North Dakota in the winter...

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