In August 1992, I traveled to Bali, Indonesia to study Balinese gamelan, religion, and art. I was there for about 5 months, returning just before New Years.
Just after I returned, I took a week long workshop on photography taught by Frank Gohlke. This workshop was great, and is part of how I became to be a photographer today.
Recently, I picked up a copy of Thoughts on Landscape, a selection of essays and interviews by Frank. His first book, Measure of Emptiness, was close to completion when we first met in 1992. I loved this work, and responded to so many things he had to say about making pictures. I can’t tell a lie though, it’s been a quite while since I’ve considered Frank’s work; his was an early influence.
Thoughts on Landscape, however, has been a delight to read. I want to share one passage in particular, from a statement he wrote in 1979:
Making pictures is a way of creating worlds within the frame that provide almost the same richness and pleasure as direct experience of the world – yet the world itself is never quite so clear as in a good photograph. There is something peculiar about the way we attribute the clarity of some photographs to the world itself. I try to reinforce that paradox by making photographs that convince the viewer that those revelations, that order, that potential for meaning, are coming from the world and not the photograph.
I think this is the kind of thoughtfulness that inspired me to become a photographer myself.