More on The Beauty of Things

Zen Art Poster by Tuan PhamTuan Pham’s presentation of Zen Through the Lens is coming up at the National Arboretum on Saturday, February 8th from 10:00 am to 12:oo pm.

This is a great opportunity to learn from a master of relaxed attentiveness.  This style allows Tuan to produce one-of-a-kind images that are not only technically strong, but demonstrate an artistic subtlety.

Simplicity and visual design are apparent throughout Tuan’s portfolio and he is eager to teach others to produce art with their camera.

Close-up Photography at VPS

Lying in the snow beneath the jungle gym I was reliving the days of my childhood, where my biggest concern was whether we’d be having brussel sprouts with dinner.

As I was putting together the Close-up Photography presentation for the Vienna Photographic Society I felt that I needed to add some new work that demonstrated the abstraction of photographs.  The pieces of the whole that reflect what actually attracted you in the first place.

Playground Straight Out of the Camera

I chose to spend some time at a playground near my house after a fresh blanket of snow.  Playgrounds are full of unique shapes and bright colors that are incredibly fun.  Bright blues and yellows were the choice for this playground.

As I work a larger scene like this, I follow a principle laid out in “Contemplative Photography” and discussed with Tuan Pham at length.  I work on silencing my inner monolog and removing myself from my hectic life and schedule.  And to concentrate my thoughts on what brought me to this place on this day.  Some deeply suppressed flash of inspiration that caused me to choose this location and this subject.

I also practice something that I learned in high school related to weight lifting.  Our PE teachers called it lifting “everything that you can, plus one.”  The theory was that if you lifted until you could not lift the weight again, after putting the weight down and resting for 1/2 a second, you could lift it again.  In photography this means that I will work a subject until I am completely drained of ideas about how/what to shoot.  I’ll sit down for a few minutes and review what I have so far, then I’ll go back and work the subject some more.  Often my most compelling work will come after I’ve taken that break.

Playground Detail
Playground Detail – Straight Out of the Camera

I find the simple contrast of warm and cool colors to be extremely soothing, and I favor simple designs with few shapes/elements.  I believe these designs are much more straight-forward and appeal to a larger segment of society.

The image to the left brings two different concepts to mind for me.  The first is a wave flowing from right to left, preparing to crash onto the beach.  The other is a shark’s fin swimming from left to right.  Depending on your point of view, this image could produce a wonderful visualization of a day at the beach, or our worst nightmare, the thought of a shark hunting us down.

Back to the point of the post, I will be giving a presentation on Close-up Photography at the Vienna Photographic Society on Wednesday, 5 February at 7:30 PM.