What else it is

Riverbed, Kent, Connecticut © Steven Willard



 “One should not only photograph things for what they are 

but for what else they are.”-Minor White

I have found myself moving in a direction, photographically, that I felt, but did not understand. The urge to photograph things in a different way from my previous work; not entirely different, but I sense it. I have been moved to make photographs that I might not have made before and to treat them in ways I would not have done before. All of this has led me to wonder what’s going on. I had been chasing fragments of thoughts around my head, trying to pull together things I’ve read, when I finally remembered the quote by Minor White, and it all began to make some sense.

Without my realization, I have been trying to photograph not only what things are, but what else they are. That was something I read long ago and didn’t understand at the time. Truth be told, I’m not sure I fully understand it now, but it comes close to explaining my latest efforts in photography. This goes beyond the kind of thing many of us have done. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about; the image of some rock that bears a resemblance to Charles de Gaulle’s profile, for instance. (I actually have such a negative buried someplace.) The “what else” I’m speaking about may not even have a tangible presence in the photograph other than how I was affected when the exposure was made and later while processing the image. The fact that the process carries forward into editing is remarkable to me, and supports the notion that the “what else” is an internal presence, not a physical “thing”.

When I first noticed this I wasn’t quite sure if I was imagining things, but it kept happening. Now when I feel “it” (I don’t know what else to call “it”), I have learned to trust the feeling. I’m not certain if my experience is actually present and visible in my images now, but there is a difference in how I respond to them, and that might be the beginning of understanding.

Pentax K5IIs with 35mm f2.8 lens. Processed in Photoshop CS4 and Nik Silver Efex Pro2 and on my iPad Air in Snapseed®.


2 comments on “What else it is

  1. Learning to trust “it” is a huge step – congratulations for having taken it! I look forward to seeing where this new realization will carry your work.


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