My Favorite Thing

People are often envious of the places that I travel to and the things that I get to see. It’s true that I visit awesome places and see some incredible things, but I must admit that my favorite part of being an artist photographer is coming home and processing my images. Dare I say it, I actually enjoy processing my photographs more than I enjoy the travelling involved and creating the exposures.

Horseshoe Bend before processing

Horseshoe Bend Panorama Before Processing

Horseshoe Bend after processing

Horseshoe Bend Panorama After Processing

White House, Canyon de Chelly - Before Processing

Before Processing

 

 

It’s like a kid coming home after Halloween and counting his loot. Getting dressed up and walking house to house is fun, but hard work. The hard work pays off when he gets home and dumps out all of the colorfully wrapped goodies in a big pile on the floor and begins to sort them into piles, counting, arranging, and re-arranging.

 

White House - After Processing

After Processing

 

 

Sure, there is excitement in exploring a new location or seeing something I’ve never seen before, or capturing an interesting juxtaposition or camera angle, but it isn’t until I put my finishing digital touches on the photographs that I feel my vision is complete. The creation is finished. The photograph has come to life. I am now able to show others what I first could only see myself.

Photographer or Artist?

Sometimes people will mention that a certain type of commercial photography is in demand, such as wedding, aerial, oil, or other commission work. I often get asked at shows if I do portrait work. I typically avoid these gigs and I’ve always thought it was because “people are hard to please” when it comes to photos of themselves. Well, I’ve recently done a few commission jobs and I actively sought out these jobs. I asked myself, “Why these jobs and not others?”

Specifically, within the past 90 days I’ve done two sessions involving airplanes and automobiles. How are these different than the commercial shooting gigs that I avoid?

Front Pano RV-7

As in the example above, I am not simply “taking pictures” of something.  Instead, I am using that “something”, in this case an RV-7 airplane in a hangar, as a canvas to create. The lights, the camera and lenses, the colored gels, the modifiers…. they are my brushes and paints.

Green Camaro

I don’t get pleasure out of “taking pictures” or collecting equipment as that is a very passive and completely technical activity and the camera most of the work. I don’t get pleasure from using software, or printing, or stretching canvas. Believe it or not, my pleasure doesn’t even come from travelling to these incredible locations and seeing them in the best light of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy these places and things and am grateful to experience what many people do not. But that’s not what inspires me.

Whtie Bug

Instead, these places and things inspire me to create. Therein is my pleasure. First, the formation of a vision, and secondly, using all of these tools to see that vision come to completion in the form of a tangible photograph that people take a true pleasure in viewing, owning, and displaying in their own personal space. This is the beginning of every art piece that any artist creates. Inspiration and a vision of “what could be” or “what can I create with this?”. It’s different than simply capturing or replicating what is in front of me. It is about using what is in front of me as a starting point – a blank canvas.

RV-8 Silhouette

This is why I consider myself first and foremost an artist. If I were to sit down and paint a painting, I would approach it in the same way that I approach photography. I would envision something interesting or a beautiful place, and I imagine it in the best light, and then I paint. Being a photographer-artist is the same creative process.

Saying Good-bye

My Favorite PortraitOn Friday, when I came home from the Bayou City Arts Fest, I learned that our four-legged daughter had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Abbie and I were crushed. Lucy means so much to us and so much of our day-to-day revolved around her. She moved in shortly after we bought our house in 2007. She was there when I began learning photography. She was a great model and put up with a lot of flashing lights.

She was there when I made my first print. She was there when I made my first mat and my first canvas. She hated the sound of the staple gun but after a while she’d come upstairs to my studio and stand on her hind-feet to get a hug.  Or she’d interrupt my work with a short gruff bark to let me know she wanted to outside to sunbathe.

Me & LucyShe knew how to sit, down, speak, stay, leave-it, take-it, and roll over.  She never did well with fetch however.  But she loved keep-away. She liked to get into the pantry when we weren’t home. Once she took a potato bag with a single potato in it and hid it in our entertainment center behind the VCR. We found it a few weeks later.  No idea what she was thinking.

 

Lucy on Chair

 

 

I don’t think she’d admit it, but she liked it when we took her picture and made videos of her. A real diva.

 

 

Executive Lucy

 

Lucy in her executive chair. I’m pretty sure she knew she was the one in charge.

 

 

Bathtime

She loved bath-time. Sometimes we’d hold her over the water and no matter how shallow it was, she’d flip her paws like she was dog-paddling.

 

 

 

Lucy, you completed our family and brought life and cheer to our home. It’s just not the same without you.  It’s so quiet without you and it’s so sad to come home with no one to greet us at the door. We’re glad and blessed that you spent your life with us. We miss you so much.

Lucy

Lucy Herschbach, April 6, 2007 – March 27, 2015