I think most poets hunger, if not grope, to give outward expression to deep, inward feelings.
Some photographers do the same.
Showing how we feel instead of just documenting what we do has been my mission from the time I picked up a camera.
From early in my career, I wanted to see beneath the surface, beyond the obvious actions of an event or performance. I hungered to capture deeper images that revealed meaningful glimpses of what it means to those participating or watching.
As a newspaper photographer, I often was expected to make storytelling pictures of “religious” holidays such as Easter, Christmas or Hanukkah—pictures that went beyond obvious records of an event.
In the early 1970s, our newspaper offered the entire front-page display for the photographer who captured the best “Christmas-related” photograph. I still remember the thrill of seeing a photograph I made of a Basque sheepherder spread across the full width and depth of Page 1 on Christmas Day.
Like many societies, we are a culture that celebrates “special” days: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, even Groundhog Day. Most societies celebrate annual “sacred” traditions. Native Americans hold a variety of colorful celebrations.
For the photographer, spring is an especially visual time. Each “special” day provides an opportunity to make meaningful pictures.
Easter, for instance, is a visual smorgasbord for a photographer—whether you celebrate it religiously or as a crazy American holiday with colored eggs, a new dress, fuzzy chicks, bunnies, candy and egg hunts.
Just as one finds crossword puzzles a way to exercise their mind, challenging myself to interpret events with a camera and make images that communicate with others keeps my imagination active and my heart connected.
After all, speaking with your camera can allow you to say things you are unable to say with words—a form of visual poetry.
Attend a spring celebration. Make obvious pictures of the event, but then challenge yourself to make an image that goes deeper and represents the emotion of those participating or watching.
Email your best image (just one, please) with caption information, including an explanation of how it affects you, to GPH@pur.coop. We may share submissions on our website and social media channels.