I’ve been thinking about photography versus painting as art forms. As a painter I don’t want to make a ‘photographic’ representation of the subject. I am more interested in colour, form, texture, composition. But most importantly for me, the concern is for the emotion in the painting.
It has taken me a while to realize that this is also the most important element for me in photographing a subject. We can never recreate what the human eye and brain interpret from the reflected light we see – whether of a mountain or a tree or a face. So the struggle for the artist photographer is to capture the emotional impact of the subject.
As with the painter, the photographer needs technical skills and knowledge of the medium, but without a deep sense of feeling for the subject we end up with just a photographic image. I struggle to find the essence of the subject and have that come through in the work.
I said this was a long and ‘squirrely’ post – my thanks to this squirrel, sitting on a long post at Fort Whyte Alive, whose enjoyment of a meal gave me this food for thought.
While the squirrel is eating contentedly, I hope you get a sense of the underlying tension. The squirrel cannot fully relax as there are predators and potential predators nearby. There is also competition for the food source from other squirrels, birds and animals. Gathering food and eating is a matter of life and death, as is awareness of one’s surrounding and potential threats.
Yet, there is something timeless and hopeful in the squirrel’s pose. Get lost in his eye, sense the alertness in his ears and feel the readiness in his posture.