Why do I photograph?
Like so many of us, I am compelled to create. We must feed the soul as well as the body. This is the fundamental reason that I shoot. Past that, however, I am a visually oriented person. While I appreciate many other forms of art, the blend of technical and creative aspects of photography hold a fascination for me. Photography is such a versatile medium, and the limitations are almost always within myself rather than the equipment. Expressive imagery is the goal, at times to go as far beyond representation of objects as my limited imagination will take me. All this is rather simplistic, of course, and the creative process is really much more complex.
As can be seen from the images on this site, I've had the good fortune and privilege to visit some fabulous locations. I am most drawn to shooting landscapes, preferably of remote, desolate and austere locations. The serenity of these locations is both soothing and enriching, a necessary counterpoint to the daily visual and acoustic onslaught of our 'civilized' world. However, I prefer to be appreciated for the way that I see rather than for what I have seen.
"The purpose of illustration is to say: “Here’s what you would have seen had you been there.” The purpose of art is to say: “Here’s what you would not have seen had I not shown it to you, even if you were standing next to me.” " ~Guy Tal
This is not meant to sound arrogant, merely a recognition that the artist is contributing part of him- or herself to the created image, not simply recording it.
Whatever we photograph, we must remember we are just passing by in this life, and so have a responsibility to the subjects that we photograph to do so with respect, and try to inspire in the viewers a desire to preserve the lands and creatures that share this beautiful planet.
What is important?
Connection. First, there's the connection between the photographer and subject, which is why you are there in the first place. Then hopefully you and your art connect with the viewer. The connection can be anything from invoking an old memory, a new appreciation for the subject of the presentation, or a desire to visit that location to experience for themselves.
Accomplishment and improvement. Competition in an art form is an unusual concept, so I compete now only with myself for a new personal best. The sense of accomplishment is good for the ego, but such small victories are hard won however, since I am a harsh critic of my own work. The challenge is continuous improvement. I want to be the most creative, most prolific, most authentic version of myself that I can be.
I've been fortunate to have a couple of portfolios published in LensWork magazine (see right panel). And my B&W series Venice ~ Fading Memories received a Lucie Award in the Fine Art category of the International Photography Awards competition.
The process. I enjoy the exploration, just being out there, and if the light and landscape or wildlife cooperate, good images are a bonus. I still feel that I'm on the toe of the learning curve, which is always a great place to be. I'm enthusiastic about the prospect that more creative images are waiting to be exposed, better prints to be made, and more expressive AV shows to be created.
Along this path of continuous improvement, it is very helpful to seek the honest input of people whose opinion you value. In a small group we challenge each other to defend the emotional ties to some images that may not be worthy, and the potential discard of other images that should be salvaged. The discussions can be animated, always entertaining, but better images and AV shows invariably result from this level of peer scrutiny.
Sharing. In addition to my involvement with this small feedback group, I have been a member of the RA Photo Club in Ottawa, where I initiated the club's feedback group in 2002 as a vehicle to encourage club members to articulate what they find compelling or attractive in certain images and not others. I have given quite a few presentations (both artistic and technical) to the main club meetings as well as special interest groups. Most of these presentations have also been shared with other local photo clubs. Many people have helped and inspired me along the way and I hope that I have done the same for others.
Photographing The World Around You: A Visual Design Workshop by Freeman Patterson. Buy it, read it, go photograph, then read it again.
The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman (just a coincidence). A wealth of practical advice with many good examples for shooting in different situations and lighting conditions. Well worth a read.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Two working artists combine to lead us through the angst, insecurity and self-doubt that we all feel. If you've ever asked yourself "Is this any good?" or "Why am I doing this?", then this book will be of help in understanding that these are universal questions. Don't expect any easy answers, however; there are none. Guaranteed to at least create the occasional knowing, wry smile. Highly recommended.
The View from the Studio Door by Ted Orland. A follow-up to Art & Fear, the author examines the role of the artist and art in today's society. Another great read.
A Beautiful Anarchy by David DuChemin. Some similar thoughts to the above two books, and a clear call to action. As I have said for a long time, there are choices to be made all the time; make them active choices rather than passive ones.Truthbeauty (Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art 1845-1945), based on an exhibit curated by Alison Nordström. An excellent tour through the pictorialist period, which gradually ended with the swing to the super-realism of the f/64 style. This book should be of interest to anyone striving with modern techniques to create expressive photographs, as these are the roots we all build upon.
The Art of Photographing Nature by Art Wolfe and Martha Hill. Art Wolfe is a world-renowned nature and wildlife photographer and Martha Hill was the picture editor at Audubon magazine for years. Here they present two separate opinions on a wide variety of images by Art. Very informative dialogue as to how to make a good image even better, and plenty of stunning images regardless.
The Architect's Brother by Robert Parke-Harrison. A collection of created scenes that I would fail to describe usefully should I try. Very, very imaginative.
LensWork This is a bimonthly magazine publication by Brooks Jensen and Maureen Gallagher. Thoughtful editorials and articles by Brooks and other writers such as Guy Tal, and some inspiring photography. Primarily B&W, but now also some colour work, all superbly printed. And lots of other interesting bits on the web site www.Lenswork.com.
Just about anything by Guy Tal. The book More Than A Rock is now out in its second edition. Check out his blog at GuyTal.com, but he also contributes regularly to LensWork as well as the online e-zine On Landscape www.onlandscape.co.uk/
Another thoughtful and articulate writer / presenter is Alister Benn at expressive.photography He also has a whole series of instructional Youtube videos.
All of the images on this site are the property of Bill Young and may not be reproduced or used for any purpose without his express written consent. To do so is a violation of international copyright law.
Having said that, all the images on this site (and others) are available for commercial and editorial uses for an appropriate license fee. Please contact us with your interest and specific requirements (perhaps there is an image on file that better suits your need than what is shown on the web site), as well as the details of the intended use of the image.
A wide variety of images can be licensed through DanitaDelimont.com