Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Between Two Worlds

I LIVE ON A FENCE BETWEEN TWO VERY DIFFERENT WORLDS. On my right side exists a world of noise, speed, bright lights, money and seduction. On my left side, a world that is like a small pond enclosed by rocks, where small stones of ideas send ripples into motion.

I LIKE LIVING ON THIS FENCE. The world on my right side gives me a headache when I spend too much time there. The world on the left needs the energy from the right else the waters become too smooth to be of any interest to me.

Staying balanced on my fence between these two worlds would not that hard except that the worlds don’t always stay on my left and my right. Most of the time, they are spinning around with such speed that I can’t always tell where they are.

While on set this balancing act becomes very interesting and necessary. In the world on the right, where my clients live, there are long lists of things that are needed from me. These lists of dreams, ideas, and inspirations are sometimes very clear, sometimes they make no sense, and often they are in conflict with each other. At times like this it becomes important to find the world on my left and take a moment to take nourishment there. This nourishment is what gives me the ideas and the fortitude to solve the problems in the world on my right. These two worlds, so different, feed each other.

I have been shooting a lot of stock photography this winter both for my stock agencies and for private, company held, stock libraries. Shooting stock can become a numbers game. There is a lot of pressure to work faster and to count a day’s success in terms of the number of shots finished. While the pressure to make the days numbers can give a lot of energy to a set I believe that this numbers game can lead to making pictures that show instead of say something. Chasing numbers forces us to see with our head instead of with our eyes.

People forget facts, and anyway, they’ve seen it all before. Facts are transient, but a good story can last forever. Do you remember how many times you went sledding as a kid? Probably not. But I bet you remember the thrill of the ride, the smell of the snow, the cold and wet whiteness turning your face red, and the triumph in braving winter’s wind. Great pictures tell stories and a story’s authenticity resides in the beauty of the details. A great picture cries out to us to enter its world and become intoxicated.

I have received many thank you notes and comments about these newsletters. I truly appreciate them. We love hearing from you.


Zave Smith

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