Why did I stop?

By: Darrell Klein

Mar 03 2007

Category: Art, photography


Photo:  Close to Home #2 – Mt. Juliet, TN

The photo above is another shot from my Close to Home series.  I didn’t have much time to shoot today but this scene did catch my eye so I stopped to capture it. 

It is difficult for me to put into words why scenes like this capture my attention.  This photo, like many others of mine, is a result of seeing something as I am driving and returning to the scene once I refine my vision of how I want to show what it was that made me take notice in the first place.

How do you choose your subject matter for your photography?  Let me know by leaving a comment. 

9 comments on “Why did I stop?”

  1. Thats great! A gorgeous shot! I really like this.
    How do I choose my subject matter?
    I think my subjects stem from my personal beliefs about art in general (stemming from your insightful post earlier). I appreciate art that ascertains a unique image, but something that is really quite ordinary and something you might see every day. I believe that is what true art really is: the capture of a moment in time in which an ordinary situation is presented without bias, alteration or interference. Where it is the photograph speaking to me, not the photographer.

  2. How do I choose my subject matter?

    I think everything deserves it’s moment. Beauty can be found in everything and I try to do the best I can to portray that. I really don’t have any reason other than that lol

  3. I carry my camera everywhere. My mate often rags on me because I’m always afraid of missing the perfect picture. Like you, I like to go back to a place I’ve seen on drive-by then walk around the subject to get the best point of view.
    In our neighbourhood, the city is constructing a new leg of the rapid transit. There is a lot of construction.
    Especially on a sunny day when the light pours onto and sometimes through the plastic cones, I just find that delightful. It’s that upbeat juicy red against the grey of pavement, grass or piles of dirt that do it for me.
    I like your subject matter. Just keep on with it. It’s fabulous because its real. In truth there is beauty.

  4. I tend to just keep my eye open to what’s around me and it seems to happen. Of course that is developed over time.

    I was inspired by now considered traditional photographers like Lee Friedlander and Gary Winogrand. Those guys would shoot a roll of 36 walking one block so they had tons to choose from when the day was done. But I have ended up being a very selective type.

    When Winogrand died he left behind about 300,000 undeveloped negatives. And that opened up a whole debate about which ones would he have chosen to print/exhibit.

    The digital era brings that aesthetic and approach back into the debate as it is now totally affordable and nowhere near as time consuming to just shoot at everything while out on a walk.

    But I think you are doing something good here. The photographer/artist will instinctively “know” when he has found what he wants. Perhaps in the end it all is really about Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment”, that magical instant when the sun and the moon and the stars line up and we think, “Yes!”


  5. Thanks for adding to the discussion Neath. I tend to be more selective just as you are. Eventhough digital had made it affordable to snap away, I have not found that approach to increase the number of “keepers” I return home with. I find that if I shoot like I did with film and be more selective, it forces me to slow down just enough to see exactly what I want and make that happen.

  6. […] a comment on a recent post on this blog, “neath” talked about being selective when out taking photographs instead […]

  7. Generally I end up being arrested by a particular emotion or mood — I end up being a poor documentary photographer in that I can’t reconstruct a particular sequence of events well, or I’ll get home and there’s several pictures of what seems like something insignificant, while the speaker/subject of the event will go missing.

    Case in point — I recently dredged up some pictures from my graduation, where I’d kept a Nikon F and 180/2.8 lens under my robe. Two pictures stood out again for me, because they evoked the same moods that I felt as I snapped the pictures. One was someone in the crowd of graduates who’d replaced his mortarboard with a balloon-animal-hat. I saw it again and felt the same relief and joy at crossing the finish line. The other was a cluster of folks — I’d cropped them from the neck down to the ankles, you couldn’t tell any of them apart as we were all wearing the same black gowns — that was my ‘distance from others’ moment, feeling strange and on the outside again.

    So for me, the ‘decisive moment’ comes when the picture can tell a story on its own, one sufficient to let me remember the emotions. The successful photos for me bring back those same feelings in other people.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures — will be sure to make it a regular stop!

  8. […] I never seem to respond just quite right. She asked me how I picked the subjects — that and a question posed by Darrell Klein got me thinking about what catches my […]

  9. […] a previous post on this blog titled Why did I stop, I talked about what makes me stop to take a photograph.  Today, […]

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