For me, one of the wonderful gifts of photography is the sheer delight of playing with lines, shapes and colours.
An image doesn’t have to have an identifiable subject to fascinate or move me. It doesn’t even have to have a relatable subject. It doesn’t even have to capture my imagination, although I love photographs that do that as well.
It just has to speak to me on some unconscious level through lines and shapes and colours. It can be distilled down to pure perception.
For me, the same has always been true of painting, so I guess this makes some sense. I’ve always loved the non-representational. I’m a huge fan of abstract artists like Lawren Harris, Wassily Kandinky and Mark Rothko, to name only a few.
I was thrilled to discover that I could make my own abstracts with photography, and I always wonder why I don’t do it more. I guess I get caught up in using photography to record and represent my observable reality in a way that is more or less recognizable. And let’s face it, that is what photography is most associated with.
But then from time to time, I get startled out of this mode and I’m able to see things in a more abstract way. The other night we were driving in the rain. It was very dark and the world outside looked mysterious. The colourful lights of the other cars and of the passing city made striking patterns on the windshield. The wipers left tracks on the windshield on top of the blurry lights. I woke up and grabbed my camera.
I recently stumbled upon a young photographer whose work also has the effect of waking me up. Her name is Felicia Simion and she actually started taking pictures at 13. Now only 20, she has developed an utterly incredible body of work and received many awards and accolades.
I love that Felicia has not become super-specialized in only one genre of photography — she does portraits as well as landscapes as well as surreal dreamscapes as well as street photography and on and on. She says: “I was never able to stick to one genre of photography. I had to know about and experience them all. The world is too vast to fit into a landscape or a portrait. It needs to be painted with so much light that it would lead the sun towards eternal blindness.”