Just got another book review, this one in the Moab, Utah paper. The review is a good one, I continue to be lucky in that. But the review reminded me that everything you do has effects you never fully comprehend — that old metaphor that each action is a pebble thrown in the stream. It has an impact that radiates into the future and touches others in ways you would never imagine. Here’s what I mean.
The reviewer at the Moab Sun, Rudy Herndon, wanted to do more than a simple review. Moab is the town where visitors stay when they’re visiting Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Rudy knows both parks intimately. So he interviewed me for an hour and asked in-depth questions regarding my knowledge of the parks, the town, when I first visited the parks, and my ideas on photography. He also looked at my book page on Amazon and quoted two reviewers, Ron Zigler and Chris Norman.
The thing is, Ron and I go back a long way. We were buddies when I was doing grad school in DC. And the first time I heard about Arches NP was when Ron showed me some of his shots. (Ron was a photographer even then and he continues to do excellent work.) That was in the late 1970s. A few years later, I was driving west from Colorado and spent an afternoon at Arches to see it for myself — the first visit of many. So in some way this book I wrote is a result of that first picture Ron showed me of Delicate Arch.
Chris Norman’s Amazon review explains a different pebble (or not). He points out that we were both participants on a David Muench workshop a few months back. That was our first meeting and I told him then that my Utah book was coming out. He bought the book and will use it to research an upcoming trip to the parks.
Chris and Ron are both excellent photographers whose work I admire. So I’m not going to say that one book is going to change their lives or their artistic approach. I don’t think the pebble metaphor is describing anything that linear.
No. I think that any skill, any knowledge has layers within layers. Ron’s Delicate Arch shot got me interested in Arches and was a step down the road of landscape photography. And maybe one of the locations I suggest can get Ron or Chris (or someone who reads the review in the Moab Sun) stoked about going to The Narrows or False Kiva. Maybe the discussion on shutter speed or morning light or post-production can give someone another tool in their photo work.
A neat photo can plant a seed but you still need to explore and see if that seed idea resonates with something deep inside. Knowledge doesn’t magically make someone a great artist. It’s a key to a door. But you don’t know where that door will lead until you walk through and take the time to explore. The real work is the time and intelligence you bring to the exploration. As the Beatles said about music, “Now that you’ve found another key, what are you going to play?”
Maybe Ron or Chris or someone I don’t know yet will give me some feedback that resonates with me. That’s one of the themes of my book, that once you start talking to other members of the photo community, you start immersing yourself in all the exploration they’re doing.
It all starts with being open to what other folks are doing, listening to new ideas, appreciating new images, and then seeing what resonates within. Ripples on a stream.
Anyway, here’s a screenshot of the review:
Moab Sun Review