Photographic Memories

Desert Rats

In the early days of photography, long before it came to be used for virtually every imaginable purpose, photography was largely used as a means of recording people and places. The world was largely “undiscovered” at the time (the western U.S. was still almost completely wild), and the camera was mostly used a matter of record-keeping (think of Eugene Atget’s thousands of determined studies of Paris or William Henry Jackson’s photographic revelations of the “new” American west). Despite the amazing number of uses for all sorts of imagery today, by and large, most of the billions of photographs snapped each year are still a means to record important places, people, and events in our lives. While I may call myself a fine art photographer, my motives behind my work are none too different than most point-n-shooters: I want to record subjects and moments that I want to remember. Photographs as memories – especially for the photographer – are incredibly powerful and can trigger deep and dormant thoughts and feelings.

Almost exactly one year ago today, I spent a week exploring and photographing The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park with two good friends, Guy Tal and Steve Cole. It was an amazing adventure, and not one that many will get to experience, and I shared it with two dear friends. I could have written journals about our adventures; I could daydream incessantly about the things we did and saw; but a quick look at the photographs instantly transports me back to that very special place and time. Only the photographer can have this deep-seated connection to his or her images, and it’s a pretty damn powerful feeling.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

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2 thoughts on “Photographic Memories

  1. Nicely put. Yes, there is really not that much difference despite all the high-minded talk. It is really all photography. Perhaps with a little training, reading, and lots of practice, some people get a little better at powerfully capturing the moment. What is great about capturing those moments is that the images can take you right back to the exact feeling and frame of mind you were in when the photograph was made, which is much harder to do with words, though also possible and probably not any more work by the time photographers do everything that has to be done these days to process and store images. It seems easier on the surface than glass plates or film, but is it really? At any rate, it has always been worth it.

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