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out of focus

February 2, 2010

Often times, I won’t photograph something when there’s not enough light & I know my shutter speed will be too slow to capture a sharp image. I have spent years trying to better get things in focus. It seems popular thought says having a portion of the image in focus is important. And with good reason, it can be extremely disappointing when they are not. Equally as frustrating, however, is the tendency I’ve developed to not shoot things in a moment when I feel inspired, because there is not enough light & I know there will be motion-blur. Even more of a hinderance than anything, is my nagging brain, ceaselessly ranting about my frustration with lighting equipment, how I have a hard time with technical things, and how I don’t have time to go back to this or that place with my tripod.  I end up feeling totally defeated and then shut down. In the course work I’m doing in the MFA program at ICP, I’m becoming increasingly aware of some of the ways I limit myself. I also am reading some writings of Daido Moriyama, where he essentially says he would be miserable in his efforts to document moments if he had to structure each image by proper technical standards. Of course the schools of thought on this vary & I have found it difficult to decide what side I am on.  I’m still not sure…maybe neither, probably both as the issue is more complex than one versus the other and essentially it depends on the images and the intent.  I see necessity of having technically sound images. I also see the importance of moving forward and expressing myself in each moment. On the Montreal bound train I was on last month, the view of the Hudson river was tremendously beautiful. It was half frozen-over with craggly crusts of ice and snow. At one point there were hundreds of crows scattered on the snow and bare trees. I visit my friends upstate often and am always inspired by the beauty of that train ride, especially in the winter. I didn’t take a picture as the light was low and the train was moving fast. On the way back to NYC,  I saw these beautiful trees and decided to take the picture anyways. I took two. When I got the film back and scanned the images I remembered how I felt in that moment and how much I was enjoying myself. I think the image is pretty too. In discussing photography I often think about the moments in between and how that’s where the magic really happens, so I have to pay close attention. But then, are those moments still “in-between” once I’m acutely aware of them? Or maybe all moments are in between..just sometimes in focus and sometimes not.

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One Comment
  1. gmaxwellmiller permalink

    Hey Ame,
    These images are gorgeous, they remind me of Gerhard Richter paintings.
    I’d love to see these printed large.

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