Looking to See What’s Out There…

Portrait of Brittany, The West Hall Street Sessions, 2011

There’s nothing new of photographic significance that I have to report. I’ve not yet shot new material although I am planning sessions, and the concepts and projects that are jelling in my mind are keeping the visionary aspects of my spirit optimistic and energized. I’m excited about what I’m feeling; fundamental changes in the way I do my work will be revealed in these new projects.

The biggest change will be my taking the figurative work out-of-doors. Of course, a great many photographers, many of them good friends, have been shooting the figure in nature as much as I have in studio and in natural light settings indoors. Mine is not to mimic, but to expand; to grow.

The prospect of shooting with sky, earth, and sea as my studio is invigorating on many levels, and two challenges in particular stand out. First and foremost is the matter of fact and brutally honest statement that I find the landscape in which I live to be uninspiring. I don’t know for certain why this is, but I suspect it’s simply a matter of over-familiarity. In a similar vein, I don’t get the 3-D craze with movies and television. I can simply open my eyes and look. I see 3-D all the time. As comedienne Paula Poundstone says, “when I watch TV or got to a movie, I want a 2-D experience, dammit!”

The second challenge is the amount of planning and coordination shooting outdoors involves. I’ve spent a great deal of my photographic life working with the landscape. Being at the right place, at the right time, takes practice. Weather, light conditions, and promised access to private property can all change in an instant. Moving the work out-of-doors creates the opportunity to be spontaneous. After all, my work with the figure began when I took a studio lighting class, pushing myself to come in from the outdoors and to do something new and different with my cameras, hoping for and getting an expansion of vision. I needed a change; was looking for it, wanting something new and different. Quite by accident, I found it. I’m hopeful for a similar bit of discovery this time around.

I love the outdoors and the landscape and am looking forward to working there once again. And of course, I love to work with the figure. The combination of the two should yield more than just new and different images; I fully expect a new body of work, as different as The West Hall Sessions were from earlier studio projects, to develop.

We will see. (Pun intended.)


Now for a “bah-humbug” moment:

The Christmas holiday season officially opens here in the states with the Thanksgiving Day holiday, which is Thursday, November 24. As with most modern holidays, the roots of all the pomp and circumstance have been created by the retail industry.

Having said that, I do honestly hope people will enjoy them and spend them as they wish. For my part, I’m quite content to let them pass quietly and without notice, though that is seldom the case. So, as I always do, I will make the best of them.

What’s my point? I’m not sure; for one reason or another, I’m compelled to offer an explanation for my behavior and apparent lack of enthusiasm. Actually, enthusiasm is there; it’s merely focused elsewhere, on other things. I should warn that one or two other ‘bah-humbug moments’ will likely be posted here. Those with ‘holiday sentiment sensitivity’ should be aware.


And, in the spirit of my pre-holiday rumblings: to all of my friends and readers who will be celebrating with their family and friends, I send my personal wishes for a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day.

This entry was posted in Entries, Fine Art, Nude Figure and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Looking to See What’s Out There…

  1. Dave Rudin says:

    Good luck with the outdoor figure work, Bill. Maybe next year I can finally drive down and we can do some outdoor work together.

    And oh yes: happy holidays! 🙂


  2. Bill Ballard says:

    Thank you Dave. Your holiday wishes are returned in kind! 🙂

    I’ll get in touch before year’s end –

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