the Proto Photographer

Photographic symbiosis

Amateur Photography

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[photo credit: collaboration with Anni Tracy @ http://www.annitracy.com/ and Aaron Kaffen @ http://www.protophotographer.com]

The prototypical photographer, as I’ve often imagined him or her, can best be described as one (wo)man heading out into the world with a camera. In this sense, my understanding of photography has taken on a Ayn Rand-ish quality where the photographer stands as solitary auteur (to borrow from film) whose individual drive and vision is enough to cram the entirety of truth and beauty into a single frame despite the relentless, oppressive mediocrity surrounding them.

With that as my standard, it’s no small wonder that I spent too many years walking around parks and cities, alone with my camera.

It wasn’t until the age of thirty that I attempted a collaborative photo shoot. But once I had, the prospect of shooting alone quickly lost its appeal. Working together with a painter, or a model, a makeup-artist or another photographer opened up new avenues of thinking and, from the new ideas, poured a mutual amplification of enthusiasm. As is so often the case, the multiplied creativities became more than the sum of their parts.

Mind you, I still enjoy solo photo stroll, in the sense that it has a meditative quality to it. But it’s not where I expect, or even want, my most meaningful photography to magically materialize. It’s just practice and preparation. I’m still waiting for the next creative mind to call me and say, “I’ve been thinking of a cool idea for a shoot. Whatcha doin’ tonight?”