Friday, August 14, 2009
Fruits of Labor
"Why do we photograph?" Is a good question. It calls into play a lot of reasons, some of which involve the documentary nature of photography. To convey an event through our eyes. To share what we see, how we felt, what we did, so that we won't forget, so that others won't forget, and so on. It's not necessary to defend why we do it. We just do, and sometimes events unfold that justify whatever reasons we had for hoisting that camera.
For a number of years, from 1984-2002, I spent a week or so at the Huron Mountain Club, NW of Marquette, MI, doing entomological research. A number of papers were published on the insects that I worked on, and I'm quite happy with what I did there. I also carried a camera with me out in the field just about every day. In the 1980s it was a Pentax MG, and in the 1990s and 2000s, I used Nikons and several medium-format cameras. Some of the images I took later on were related to my research, but many were not, as I knew that my time there was coming to an end, and I wanted to document some of the beauty of a place that very few people outside of Huron Mountain Club members and researchers (working under the auspices of the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation) get to see.
Some of my images were placed online on my Flickr account to share. Last year, I was contacted by History Works, Inc. to use some of my images for a book documenting the history of the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation and the research that has taken place there. I was happy to donate a number of images, and finally, today, I received a copy of the book in the mail. Having one of my photos grace the cover was proof to me that all the shots I took of Ives Lake were worth the effort. I was never content to just get one shot, to document that I was there. As anyone knows that photographs seriously, you go back to some spots to shoot repeatedly because there is always the chance to get a better image than you did before, to capture something a bit different. So it was with this image. One thing I did notice when providing images for the author -- my photography greatly improved after 2000, when I began taking it seriously and thinking about what and how I was shooting. Those later images comprise most of my photos in the book.
I have over 15 photographs in the book and it's really great to see them in printed form-- a better venue than sitting closed up in the file cabinet inside sheet after sheet of slide pages.