Sunday, June 30, 2013

Monochrome Monday (Equivalent)

These first words for the new financial year are for cyclist photogs, Steve and Robert. 
Thanks for your friendship and inspiration.

Seems that, for a botanist, Minor White (1908-1976) spent a lot of time looking at clouds. He would get his cumbersome camera out and surf the light with the disciplined eye of a Zen master. Waiting and waiting and waiting and then when the light reflected or refracted in a certain way, he would capture etherial fleetingness onto big sheets of film.
Yes, anybody who was there then with that camera could have taken that shot of that barn or those clouds. It wasn't like he had to swim around the line up dodging rogue sets, anti-imagery locals or anything.

But his photographs were not just images of stuff - frost on glass, clouds, peeling bits of paint or gnarly old rocks. No, his compositions directed the viewer's gaze towards specific elements out of all the clutter that Reality presented at that moment for him to choose from. (And yes that probably makes his photos political, but let's leave that for now.) He called them Equivalents as they caused an emotional reaction unrelated to the content.

And what did Minor White do on days when there were no clouds? 
Well, he co-founded Aperture, one of the most influential photography magazines ever, still communicating on numerous media 60 years later!
Next time you pick up a quality surf mag, (one that makes you still go "wow"), take a good, hard look at the wow shots inside and consider the way the shooter chose to frame them and consider this. The shooter or the editorial designer was probably inspired by the great photographers such as Minor White or taught or mentored by those that were - shooters who knew a cloud was not just a cloud.

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