Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tornado Days

This is a house in Henderson, Kentucky taken last fall after the big tornado that tore through the area killing more than 20 people across the river in Indiana. It's just a typical American house. As a photographer, I question the value of pictures like this of things that are just mind-numbingly typical. On one hand, I think of posterity. Pictures of common things that no one bothers to photograph don't look so common with the passage of time. On the other hand, anyone can take this picture. It doesn't require any particular skill, either technically or compositionally. But on the third hand, I still see something that appeals to my aesthetic in this. Of course I've manipulated it somewhat in the darkroom to make its appearance consistent with my mind's eye.

With all the fantastic improvements in photographic technology, the ability to translate the mind's eye will more and more often be what separates the pro's from everyone else. I see tourists everyday with equipment equal to my own and it's just going to keep getting better and less expensive. Professional photographers will have to continually go to further extremes to seperate themselves. I saw a show recently at the Brooklyn Museum featuring the work of Edward Burtinsky. There was one fantastic shot of a field of oil wells in California. I wondered how he was able to get such a shot. The answer turned out to be that he rented a crane. That plus he had an 8 x 10 camera. Another example is an acquaintance who regularly rents helicopters to get the shots he wants. That's all well and good, but for us lower class folk, we have to struggle a bit harder to find compelling images.

Anyway, larger image here.