In For A Penny

There’s a thing about a real camera. It’s seductive. One minute you’re ripping off snapshots, the next you’re trolling the neighborhood for real shots.

The snowstorm offered obvious opportunity and I took advantage.

[snow pics]

But such photos are child’s play. Anybody can capture a compelling scene if it’s been airbrushed by nature for the purpose. Snowstorms are rare in Fred, Texas, and when the photogenic layer melted away, the easy targets evaporated.

Without the softening layer of snow to provide the glam-photo landscape shot, I was at a loss. In my view, my environment didn’t offer the best subjects for dramatic portraits. As a student of National Geographic, I envisioned grand vistas, exotic locales. How could I take great photos without great subjects?

Some have said that familiarity breeds contempt. I say that familiarity engenders blindness. For the creative mind, familiarity is the curse of existence. We live with a thing to the point that we can no longer see it for what it is.

For the prosaic, an ear is an ear. But but when properly considered, the whorls and caverns of an ear embody a wealth of nuance and design. Given time and opportunity, a thoughtful mind can get lost in its intricacies.

Thus it comes as no surprise that my omnivorous mind sought out less predictable targets, and suddenly the small world of Fred opened up to me.

A few shots from my nascent photographic explorations survive.

[Other Fred shots]

It took me a few decades to translate that experience from image to words in the form of the Fred books, but it was a lesson that would serve me well.  And I commend such thoughtful cross-discipline considerations to the general populace.

Forget thinking outside the box. There is no box. Dare to think. Dare to do.