Wednesday, March 2, 2011


People who know me well, who have attended my photography slide show presentations, or who have registered for my classes, understand that I am known for my I SEE SOMETHING™

I say it so much that it has become one of my trademarks. And it's true, when I go out "shooting" I always see something. But, it's not the same kind of seeing with which most people are familiar. I don't see with my eyes; I see with my imagination. I see something before I see it. It's kind of like that song says, "I knew I loved you before I met you." Okay, maybe it's not like that song....:-)

Here are just a couple of examples that illustrate what I'm talking about. I have other similar images on my website, but viewers don't know the story behind the images. But, for these two, I'm going to take you inside my head so you too can see what I see.

Imagine seeing several fully restored vintage tractors, all parked on this huge lot by a small two-lane highway. There are several makes and models, of different colors. And, they're for sale! "Tractors?" you say. "What tractor would be deserving of a photograph, unless it was for an assignment for some tractor or farming magazine?" Ah, but wait, grass hoppa, a tractor does have artistic value, if you see what I see.

I liked the combination of greens and reds. I was looking for an abstract. I could imagine what this extract might look like with very shallow depth of field (a wide f/stop). As I set my f/stop and manually and selectively focused, I saw this coming together. You see, it's not a picture of tractors; it's photo art that focuses on the art the tractors can create. It's there already, we just need to find it, i.e., create it.

I was strolling along one of my favorite places in Colorado--Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. On this particular day, I saw and studied one of several street performers, a small group of three guys singing and playing their guitars. They had a couple of back-up guitars which they had carefully placed behind them. In-between sets, I asked one of them if he would mind if I "took some pictures." He politely obliged. As I was photographing, I saw something that caught my eye-- a guitar lying on a bench, with a guitar case behind it. As I examined the developing scene in front of me, I started seeing with my imagination. They were no longer a guitar and a guitar case--I saw art. I began my experimentation with composition, depth of field, selective focusing, and a sense of creating a piece of art through my camera and lens. This is the result of what I saw.

Without a hint; without explanation of what went into this image, it takes awhile to see what you're seeing.

In both examples, there are several creative applications that serve as the foundation to "finding" these types of images. One of these applications is from my Eli's 5-Point Photo Art Model™  We need to detach ourselves from the symbols we have been programmed to see: "Tractors." "Guitar." "Guitar case." If we detach ourselves from the labels, we start seeing everything differently. Try it!

Eli Vega, Photo Artist