Newsletter #181: June, 2020
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
Two events happened this month which brought about new ideas.
First, I had several 2-day workshops planned which were about to be cancelled by COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, I decided to offer them to small groups of 5 -7 participants where social-distancing could easily be respected.
Second, I went on a photo shoot to a new location with my friend Dennis Ducklow.
Combined, these two experiences took me to a new place; philosophically and photographically.
Yahooo! This is the 16th year of writing this photographic Newsletter without missing a month! Hard to believe!
Workshops and COVID-19
Photographing the marsh
The thought of not teaching a single workshop in 2020 felt very empty to me. When discussing with Rita the possibility of cancelling my 2-day workshops, we came up with the idea of offering them to small groups. The idea would double my workload but the results, we thought, might be richly rewarding. From both the teaching and learning perspective, classroom illustrations, in-the-field demonstrations, and the discussion of creative ideas would all be handsomely enhanced.
We were right! I have just completed two small-sized workshops, and the results were overwhelmingly successful from both perspectives. With the more personalized attention leading to a marked improvement in creative expression, I am going to continue teaching within this format.
“Your 2-day workshop presentation was well beyond my expectations. Going in, I had no idea just what a profound effect your workshop would have on my outlook on photography. You threw the door wide open and gave us an understanding of the endless possibilities that lie within our grasp…….the way you critiqued our images was an encouraging and informative experience. Attending your workshop was a privilege”. – S.J. Bridge Lake Photo Group- 2020
With a growing wait-list, I am offering two more 2-day “Freedom of Expression” workshops for 6 participants only. The workshop description and registration is on this website.
If you enjoy art, and the possibility of interpreting familiar realities into never-before-seen expressions, using ‘in-camera’ techniques, we invite you to join us.
Below are a few images made where we photograph on these workshops.
Back Valley Road, near our home
On our property
On our property (made in the afternoon)
On our property
On our property
On our property
The ‘Why’, ‘What’, and ‘How’ of Expressing Silver Creek
Early last week, my friend and fellow workshop instructor, Dennis Ducklow, drawing on a distant memory, took me to a place of his youth. After a two-hour drive, we entered a deep rainforest valley near Hope, BC.
A magnificent forest greets us as we enter the valley
A short trail takes us to a small quiet lake
Living on a grassland plateau as I do, I was overwhelmed with the energy of a deep forest and rushing water. We stopped beside Silver Creek. With camera in hand, I went to its bank where I could witness the turbulence in play. Photographing excitedly for 90 minutes, I never moved more than 2-meters.
Silver Creek. The images below were all made while standing on the right-hand bank.
Back home, Rita asked me where and what I had photographed, and if I had had a good time. Within that second before answering, I had to figure out WHY I was so excited to be there and WHY it resonated so powerfully with me. The memory of the lush rainforest, mist and spray rising from a powerful fast-moving river, large boulders which radiated gold and green hues as water poured over them, the noise of rapids, and the overall power of nature, flashed through my mind.
I also had to decide WHAT to say, to communicate all those feelings.
Only when I had the answers to those two questions, did I know HOW to answer Rita. Which words (the elements of verbal expression) in my vocabulary, and how can I juxtapose them to express those feelings?
Because we answer these types of questions so many times in our lives, we know the Why’s, What’s, and How’s in seconds.
Likewise, in photography, we know WHY we resonate with our subject, and WHAT we wish to communicate about that feeling, when we decide HOW to make our images.
The following images all began with a resonance between myself and the surrounds of Silver Creek. They are all expressions which speak to the questions; Why, What, and How.
An expression of Silver Creek, I
An expression of Silver Creek, II
An expression of Silver Creek, III
An expression of Silver Creek, IV
An expression of Silver Creek, V
An expression of Silver Creek, VI
An expression of Silver Creek, VII
An expression of Silver Creek, VIII
An expression of Silver Creek, IX
Whenever I drive home from Hope, BC, I always endeavor to capture an image or two to remind myself of the magnificence and significance of this journey. Rich in history, the route climbs up through the mountainous Lower Fraser River and Lower Thompson River Canyons, before finally leveling out on the Cariboo grassland plateau. Its beauty is outstanding to any tourist, but often taken for granted by those who travel it often.
Here are two images from last week’s journey home.
Pine trees in a previously burned forest along the Thompson River
Reaching the Cariboo plateau often offers big skies and dramatic light. Approaching Cache Creek.
See you next month!