Newsletter #206: September, 2023
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved
It’s wonderful to be back in the Cariboo region of British Columbia during the fall season. The temperatures have been warm, the forest fires have kept their distance, and the yellow hues of aspen and larch trees are an inspiration to everyone to get out and enjoy the season.
This newsletter is about exploring photographic expression; the part of photography I find most exhilarating.
Exploring Photographic Expression in Ireland
To become creative and expressive photographers, one needs to know their craft well. This means knowing the potential of their tools (camera and lenses) including a number of techniques which are required to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Exploring photographic expression, which has become a passion of mine in recent years, also requires imagination and a propensity for experimentation. By welcoming the element of chance through experimentation, my visual narratives shift away from the traditional way of documenting a place, to one of photographing an experience. This requires one’s camera and one’s heart.
Jane and Tony O’Malley’s art studio
Photographing in this studio truly excites me. The energy that this space contains, encourages creative thought, and an appetite to explore new ways of perceiving my surroundings.
In this image, I photographed several small intimate realities to make one large new reality. By creating this in-camera, I am able to see the result of my capture instantaneously. I then make adjustments through experimentation to improve my composition.
An impression of Jane’s work table.
Tony’s work space
Over the last two months I have been developing a new expression; one I have never used before. I call it the Kriss-Kross effect, with the accentuation of both vertical and horizontal lines. There is a touch of both realism and abstraction; one might refer to it as abstract-realism!
The Kriss-Kross effect in the natural world
It wasn’t long before I wanted to try the Kriss-Kross effect outdoors, where non-linear details of vegetation prevail. As expected, my satisfaction rate dropped dramatically. During an hour-long walk, the above photograph was the only one that captured the Irish countryside as I felt it.
The Butler Garden; Kilkenny
While on a shopping trip to Kilkenny, Rita and I discovered the Butler Garden for the first time. I was immediately drawn to its symmetrical design and decided to return with my camera. I was eager to experiment and discover how best to express it.
The Butler Garden; an impression
I started my exploration with a style known as photographic impressionism. This is an expression I frequently used back in the film days, but it was considerably more complicated then. Digital capture, with its instant feedback, is quicker and simpler.
The Butler Garden; Kriss-Kross effect
Although I am reasonably happy with this expression, I became quickly aware that the Kriss-Kross effect is extremely challenging when photographing natural landscapes.
The Butler Gallery; Kriss-Kross effect
I was not encouraged, so I decided to leave the garden and head toward the city.
The River Nore, Kilkenny
Entrance to the Kilkenny Design Centre
Needing nutritious sustenance after my early morning garden shoot, I headed to a wonderful restaurant in the Kilkenny Design Centre. The Centre is a haven for art of all kinds; where dozens of crafters produce an unrivalled selection of Irish handcrafted wares.
Looking out toward the Kilkenny Castle
After breakfast, I noticed a gentleman watching visitors making their way to visit the Kilkenny Castle. I decided the Castle was my next destination.
The Kilkenny Castle; an impression
Kilkenny Castle, a playful perspective
By exploring my camera’s potential for expression, I have discovered a way (providing it’s an overcast day) to suspend subjects in space. It’s a novel expression that lightens my mood and keeps me both playful and inspired.
Visitors entering Kilkenny Castle
The architectural elements of the grey stone castle lent itself to my Kriss-Kross style of expression. I was excited, however, capturing the human form was a challenge. In this image, it didn’t quite work for me.
Tourists entering Kilkenny Castle
I was determined. I knew I was close, so I kept experimenting. Eventually, I captured an expression that thrilled me. I never want my viewers to think of the people in my images as people who have lost their form, but rather, to see their forms as an expression of people. This was my favourite photograph of the day!
Aungier Street, Dublin
On our return to Canada, we spent a day in Dublin. On a rainy day, I took a stroll from our B&B through the neighbourhood of Temple Bar toward the River Liffey. Below are a few expressions I made on that walk.
Aungier Street, Dublin
Aungier Street, Dublin
River Liffey, Dublin
Next week I head to Montreal to teach a workshop in the ’Old City’, Vieux Montréal. After that, Rita and I will take a holiday to explore the urban landscape of Montreal; its culinary art, and the many aspects of its multi-culturalism. I will no doubt be taking you there in my next Newsletter! Until then, au revoir.
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