Monday, March 6, 2017

"Soft Eyes"

Photo: © S. Banos

One of the reasons I (and so many others) will always be condemned to mediocrity is the fact that I lack the proverbial "soft eyes," as Henry Wessel describes it. Basically, it's the condition where we empty our minds into a zen like state of being that allows us to be open to all the photographic possibilities around us. Usually, that would be yet another, nice photographic adage- if it wasn't for the fact that if you look at his work, you can see that is exactly how he operates. The majority of his work is as simple as simple can be: Leica, Tri-X, 28mm- and yet the diversity of his images is striking; he most definitely practices what he preaches. 

I like to think I do the same, but I know I don't succeed very often, or very well- most photo ops have to hit me upside the head to recognize them staring me in the face; and I know that I too often look for those exact things that meet my limited criteria- at the risk of failing to notice all that do not. And that's a failure to grasp opportunities that help one grow and develop. It's something I continually strive to overcome, but something which continues to constrict and limit my vision- tell me to empty my mind, and it's an automatic cue to endlessly ponder the most obvious.

John Gossage is another photographer that can often transcend our mundane world and reveal it for the visual miracles that abound within it. It's a gift which they've obviously honed and mastered. That doesn't mean we won't get some share of keepers to be sure, if only from our constant, if impaired, effort- it just means that we'll forever remain the small fish (in a... small pond).