Metaphorical Merit | Jennifer Pritchard
Essentially this was his message in the workshop where I met Ann.
“One of the things that I most believe in is the compose and wait philosophy of photography. It’s a very satisfying, almost spiritual way to photograph. Life isn’t’ knocking you around, life isn’t controlling you. You have picked your place, you’ve picked your scene, you’ve picked your light, you’ve done all the decision making and you are waiting for the moment to come to you….” – Sam Abell
It deeply resonated, and perhaps even more so as time, travels, and circumstance have repeatedly reinforced that message in my newly embraced photographic life.
Long before Ann and I met, soon after the gift of my first camera, I began my studies. I knew very little; the vastness of the photographic world I didn’t know exhilarating. I have such fond memories of those evenings in the studio with Peter Poulides. The photographer I am today bears little resemblance to the one that took that first DSLR class, but she lurks in the shadows of every photograph I make. And each press of the shutter carries the memory of my lessons, the critiques, the sessions and workshops and the wisdom and affection of the mentors who tirelessly shared stories of their photographic lives.
It was linear - my learning to be a photographer. Each step was followed by another step, and another - until I had amassed hours and hours of composing, and waiting for a moment to declare itself. Or the rare serendipitous moment -the one that is all luck - that produces a magical image. I have more than one of those in my portfolio of photographs - the making of that photograph is steadfastly imprinted on my memory just as it was on film or in pixels. A treasure, My photographs area a visual history of the hours of study, the experiences of a slice of my life, captured. A continuum of discipline as I moved from the most basic of understanding in the persistent search for distinction.
Photography has brought me a bounty I would not have expected. It has brought me the joy of creation, the rewards of applying myself, a stable of dear and trusted friends and collaborators, and, most importantly, an explorer’s bias, and the curiosity and wisdom that comes with it.
During my year of photographic living I have discovered that the visual and the verbal are synchronous for me. In any endeavor I begin with the end in mind -an illustrative mental image, that sets me on a path. In my professional life - the one I lived before now - this would have translated to vision and strategy. Then the words would come - fluidly written, awkwardly spoken - a contradiction in its expression - a reflection of my own vulnerability. The language of photography has become the language of my being. It reflects the poles of my mind (the black and white) and the search for the shades in between (grayscale). The bokeh of my personal landscape as I navigate areas where I have little depth. Me, exposed, navigating a new and curious life - finding my focal point. It is a language that transcends this new photographic life. It is simply the language of a life. And so, in this, our project - mine and Ann’s - we will use this language for its metaphorical merit- photography being the reason we became friends and collaborators - but more for its literal value - as we all search for clarity in a divisive and polarized world.