August 1st, 2018 … How to See a Horse

Ya know that rule about eye contact, being most important? Well, I was never one to follow rules too closely. Not that there’s anything wrong with it but sometimes I like my photos to just be observed. See the girl up above, yeah, the one in the white dress? Well, if I waited a fraction of a second, we would be locked in the eyes. I anticipated that and released before that happened. Why? Well, she’s got that mask thing on, she’s all alone in her world and I just observed her and made the photo. I suppose it’s not really like a detachment. I mean if she’s in her world and I’m in mine and I make a photo of her, am I intruding on and in her world.  Stuff like this haunts me all the time because i never really get an answer that fully answers the question once and for all.

Did you ever analyze your subject matter?  Did ya ever question why certain things turn you on and other things, ya don’t give a hoot about? Sounds like childs play and maybe ya think it is but I tellya, these are life altering questions. I think the way to work this is to anylize your images and find a common denometer that inks them.  OK, shhhhhhh… we are all serious about photography and our lives, granted. If you haphazzardly spread this stuff around, next thing ya know, the one you kinda donr’t really care about,  well that one will end up in a Museum and you’ll have to pay to see the work. So we keep this under wraps and even Mueller can’t figure this out.

The novice would think we are talking about trigger mechanisms. We are in a way but it don’t weigh enuff. We all know that the trigger mechanism lives inside the photo and perhaps that made us click the shutter. Hold on folks, just a min….I am losing myself. da da la de da… there I am…  See, the difference is this….subject matter is already a choice that sleeps in your eye, heart and mind. Your job and the job of your Named camera, is to respond to outside stimulus and then and only then let the trigger set the shutter for the photo.  So I think where we need to get clarity, and I speak, no…sorry I write about this because there seems to be a bit of confusion on the area of photography.

Probably most of us can anaylize our intent ansd subject matter.  It’s like this. If we look at a horse long enough, we still see a horse. Walk around like those blind Priest and the elephant. No matter what you do, you will see a horse. Partially because we are programed to see things and apply tags to them quickly. So, a horse is a horse of course a horse will always be a horse, of course. If you don’t believe me ask Mr Ed. Ya don’t trust a horse, ask Wilber. See, our mind as powerful as it is, has preconceptions and other things in there to boggle it. If we look at a horse and see a horse, we fit in to the mass of society and we never need think any different. We are in the safety zone of no questions and need no answers. It’s acceptable and down right proper. What’s my point? ok…..

As a photographer, wait… as an inhabitant of this planet we all love and destroy together it’s socially and photographically to see a horse as a horse. BUTT!

When I see a horse, I want to know it’s name. I love the brown coat and the way he stands, so proud, even while making a dumping. I love the white patch that he has between the eyes. I wonder if he’s married and even has kids. I wonder what the horse is thinking about as he looks at me. I think his name is Ralph, Ralph the horse. So noble. Why on earth would anyone just see a horse? Hold on now. This might be crazy and from me, youse know it could be. Wait a darn minute. I just had a brain, ummm well… thought. Not very often but i learned to pay attention.

What if and I know this is a stretch, what would happen if we all looked at our subject matter and didn’t just see a horse?  What if we really tried to feel our subject matter from our Eye, Heart and Mind? What if Edmund Bacon was right? What if we looked at our scenes on the streets and the people being affected and affecting the environment. What if we didn’t see a horse at all and we just saw Ralph the horse that is smarter than I?

If we get bold enough, nah… what if I get bold enough and go out with Andre’ the Leica M240 and look for photos and break the patterns of thoughts and emotions and seek to find out there what dwells in me.

6 thoughts on “August 1st, 2018 … How to See a Horse”

  1. Don, not sure if you know this one (to carry the analogy forward) but if you want to see a horse and see how long a long take of a horse can be in an opening sequence and what meaning just that shot can convey (the camera really just kinda looking at the horse) check out the opening scene of Béla Tarr’s “The Turin Horse”. Taking that example, for the stills photographer then (let’s say taking one shot out of a long take of that horse going down the lane or whatever the subject…) the challenge is to evoke the same kind of emotive response in the viewer you feel but in just one frame, I would suggest not by searching for any ‘decisive moment’ but instead by striving for ‘chi’.

    1. Kevin, unfortunately, I am open or try to remain open to thoughts from others. It confuses me and I need to just breathe it all in and make photos. I suppose I am guilty for understanding The Decisive Moment, maybe even Zen and also the Chi as you brought up. I like to think that readers of my blog understand that the horse not only is standing right in front of them but that they realize the horse dwells inside of them.

      Thanks for the enlightening post. Namaste’

  2. Thought provoking Don. Not sure if it relates but when I’m shooting a down and out homeless person I see more than a homeless person. I think to myself that this person was once a happy (hopefully) little child playing like most children do. And then a journey began that took this child to where they are now – on the streets. Does that make sense? Anyway, we need to see beyond just the “Horse” when making photos. Take care out there.Love the image of the girl in the mask in her own little world at that moment.

    1. Dave, thanks. Years ago I had a session with 7 students. 3 men and 4 ladies. Anyway, we went to Kensington Ave and they were making remarks about the hookers on the streets. I stopped walking and said…”see that girl, all strung out?” Dont you think she was the pride and joy of her father, him holding her and seeing all the good and love in the world? Don’t you think there is a family with broken hearts because of where she is and what sh does? Well, that was to put the fear of life in them and some it did and they stayed students of mine. The others, small potaooes.

      1. Well said Don – I know what you’re saying. Within any image we make of a person there is a story unknown to us. It is well for us to reflect on that.

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