Short Essay - The Bow Tied Road to Art

The elements that bring life to photography are less derived from objective definitions, and more so find their relevance in intimate emotional connections between ourselves and  what we see; Like trying to attach the reason for a “Stairway to Heaven”, or Floyd’s “Momentary Lapse of Reason”, we often don’t need it, for satisfaction rests along the melody alone.
The search for definitions would seem to suit the dissection of the spirit of a photograph.  Why would we choose to examine what is essentially an emotional response to a picture, and break it down into its components of geometry and science?
Should we learn to enjoy a landscape of rocks wrapped in foil, or string hung in oddness through space, if intrinsically we do not.  Should we see triangles and circles and form as if they existed purposefully in subtle country scenes of folks at rest, if at first we cannot.  Are we supposed to see a definition that extends beyond a first impression or a rested glance - should we seek to add a science to a natural art.

The lessons in the art of photographic design are gifted to us and provoke responses that ask us to capture moments, and believe in them.  To learn to compose with the frame, as thoughtfully as poets would pen a sonnet - as though a perfect frame was a saturation of instinct for a moment of time.
We are given a conduit through which to sample the great photographic composers.   We are afforded the finest honor of a glance through the pages that make up our art.  A virtual spoiled child apprenticeship is afforded the keen.
Each week in class we are soaked in new knowledge and wallow in it, and the depth of its opportunity is no finer contemplation.  Every definition, observation, or poetical curtsey to the greats, carries an anchor that grounds us.
Ultimately, there is a magic path in this history, in the lectures, in defining techniques, considering visionaries, and admiring the theories and samples of famous compositions.  Quite simply, it gives greater life to photography to have learned.

The Bow Tied Son
He takes a length of fine silk, starched full of his soul, all rigid with self- perceptions, courage and pride.  He drapes it under a collar, and whilst most of it then becomes hidden, like much of himself, that which he resolutely hopes will impress, still hangs over the lapels clumsily awaiting attention.
The man is nearly made.  His shoes shimmer and squeak, the suit is pressed and buttoned just so, and the white shirt puffs his breast.  But still the bow tie hangs.  His confidence starts to falter and his eyes loose their owner momentarily before his figure returns.  He fidgets uncomfortably in front of the mirror, a hint of sweat beading on his brow.
His father passes by the door at this moment, and with hardly a turn of his head has sensed his son’s unease.  The connection in this moment seems involuntary, a partnership of spirits, and in that brief passage of silence their bond unites.
“Son,” he says.  “It is no lesser place to be if you cannot tie this bow. Your dignity and strength make you this man, and the silk around you neck will never hang you.  I will show you how to tie your bow.  If you take this lesson well into your heart, you are afforded the chance of many great choices.  Make the frame that best suits your man in this mirror. People will always see what you show them, but you are more if you have learned to compose what they see”.

By Grant Lucas

2010-01-05 15:02:17



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