I’ve been a hobby photographer since the 1980’s. Back then, of course, it was film camera. I had two Pentax K1000’s and three lenses. A modest investment.
Photography as been an aspect of Play for me. Sometimes a solitary excursion; often with friends. Now that the digital age has made photography so easy, and creative expression so immediate and gratifying, it’s so much more enjoyable, productive & fun as a hobby.
I have to thank my brother Warren for inspiring my journeys into the photographic world; he has an excellent eye for design, composition and creativity in that arena. Some of Warren’s renderings can be seen here on Flickr.
My photos cover several theme areas: Black & White, Night Photography, Naturescapes, Human Caricatures & Architectural Decay.
Black & White Photography is fascinating because of the drama of shape, texture, light, shadow & pattern. It conveys so much more metaphor & implies so much more poetry than does standard color photography.
I find B&W work is like visual poetry – without the difficulty of wordsmithery.
Another field of interest for me in photography is Night Shots. This is a genre that my brother and I developed in 2004 with our early experiments with the Canon A80 – a 4-meg point-and-shoot camera.
Night opens up a whole realm of possibility with the camera. It literally is “the crack between the worlds”, and what was assumed to be true on the surface of daytime color, transforms into shamanic and archetypal canvases to the night-time eye.
Night Photography – at least the definition that Warren and I fostered – allows for a blending of motion and illumination, a wash of the energies of artificial light and human velocity, all of which produces a fascinating Light Collage, with an other-worldly, abstract feel.
It’s a combination here of being in the right place, with the right light and witnessing the motion of human or vehicular projectiles as they journey on their merry way to Armageddon.
Besides the intended and the accidental, Night Photography can result in surprises that range from spectacular to spooky. It’s a fun and creative way to spend an evening in Vancouver, especially during the dark and rainy months, where these limitations can actually be a boon to technique.
Naturescapes is a term that encapsulates Landscapes, Seascapes, Skyscapes and any combination of natural elements that speak to the Human Eye and Human Heart. Nature Itself is one of God’s Unedited Statements – something like little children are. It speaks directly to your heart, bypassing all the labyrinths of curious and distracted intellect.
This type of photography celebrates, simply and profoundly, the beauty of the planet we’ve been gifted with. One of the beauties of technology is its ability to grasp and preserve an otherwise-unnoticed fragment of a second, in a life that is passing by far too rapidly. It is in these fragments that the secrets of nature are revealed: dew-drops on a flower petal, soft light bathing wild grasses in a meadow, the ancient bone-weary sculptures of driftwood dinosaurs lying in the sun.
Photography allows us a reflection on this ephemeral play of light, time to savor it before its lost, a chance to share it with our neighbors.
Human Caricatures is a term I just made up. It is about playing, play-acting, guerrilla and improv theatrics pulled off at the drop of a hat, in the gutters and alleyways of mainstream life.
The players are us, the play has already began, and the stage is the ground you’re walking on this very second.
Is it a good play?
Is it fun?
Are the actors good? Scenery?
Perhaps some of us grew up too fast (or not at all!). As adults, everything in life becomes about maintaining position, saving face, being “in control”, knowing all the ‘correct’ answers and on and on. Totally boring. Totally plastic and transparent.
Somewhere along the way, I clued into the value of discovering our lost Inner Kids (or maybe Inner City Kids), and letting them loose. At least once per week. Or maybe once per day. OK, OK! Once per hour!
Life is empty, boring meaningless and artificial without an ongoing sense of Play and Lightness. Once you’ve found and re-connected with your Inner City Kid, it’s a tough job to find other Inner City Kids to play with. But it happens. Life gifts players with playmates.
The final category I’d like to mention here is Architectural Decay. This is also another term I just made up. See? This is the delight of being a Creative Geek. You get to invent your games, then invent their names. The Name Game.
Architectural Decay, or “Attention Deficit” for short, is about shooting the forms and features of mankind’s crumbling facade on Planet Earth. It’s about paint peeling off walls and changing color. It’s about derelict rotting teetering structures in god-forsaken alleyways. It’s a study in Societal Mortality; the lonely secret anguished corners of mankind’s monuments, dying not a graceful death like autumn leaves, but a death of great drama, sorrow and mystery.
It all has its place.
If nothing more, it’s a study of contrasts. Example: the beauty of nature’s mortality is exemplified in driftwood, dying leaves, ancient tree-stumps, and old skull on a desert rock. Compare this to the decrepit back end of a downtown alley building with staircase falling, facade crumbling, mold and mildew encroaching.
It’s a study of the Paradise of Perfection lost to the irrevocable influence of time & tide. It’s a study of handicapped sand-castles.
And the realization that the orange iron-oxide of Rust is often more beautiful than the polished steel it stood so proudly as in its days of juvenile arrogance.
If we could all be so lucky.
Welcome to Gary Bandzmer’s world of Interesting, Captivating and Entertaining Photographic Art!