My muse is a ghost. Silently it nudges me towards elegance. Like a marble seeking the bottom of a bowl I roll about, sometimes with purpose, sometimes randomly, until the stillness of clarity arrives. Sometimes my muse is off bothering someone else. So I work on, searching for the moment when either the light or I shift, the muse returns, and the image brightens before me. Often the muse borrows my father’s now silent voice to remind me of my earliest lessons in image making.
When I was not yet tall enough to peer over the edge, I would pull myself up on a stool and rest my chin on the wooden darkroom sink my father built for his small town photography business. The sink stank. I was not deterred. My perch was just right to watch silver images appear on smooth white paper. It was magic. Again and again I watched this amazing feat spring forth in the steel trays of sloshing chemicals just inches away from my small face. Something grabbed by soul, and it was good.
In that completely and utterly dark room, I learnt the delicate knack of feeding a roll of negatives into developing spools before I was old enough to go to school. In the darkness, my eyes saw only black. I learnt to feel where in space things were even when I was not touching them. I learnt there was a lot to know that your eyes alone could not tell you. I learnt to trust my heart, to listen to what the whole world was telling me, silently, in each moment. To just “do”. In the darkness and in the dim amber glow of the safelights, day by day, my father’s voice pointed out the treasures of image making. “The camera is an instrument that you learn to play with a little practice”, he said. But the image…the image is something you discover when first your heart hears and only then your eyes see the rhythms of light playing throughout the world. Then the creative dance can begin. With or without the muse, the light plays, the invitation to create awaits.
That was a long time ago. Now, I continue to show up. To feel, to look, to invite the light into the camera. Then I do it all, again. Just that…beginning and continuing. Image making is a joyous experience. Sharing this journey with anyone aspiring to discover their own creativity is my passion.
My father was fond of saying he was the third greatest photographer in the world. He personally felt Yousuf Karsh was the best and that all the other photographers saw themselves as second. That left him comfortably at ease in third place. His relaxed approach leaves a lot of room for anyone, including you, to become a great photographer. To discover your own greatest, you pick up the camera… then… you begin.