Photography requires an interesting mix of technical prowess and artistic interpretation. Most people become hooked on photography because they are inspired to capture beautiful images in their lives. Yet you must master a dizzying array of technical skills to become a consistently great photographer. Our technical experience allows us to take what we see – both literally and in our mind – and translate that vision into a 2d static image.
Like most photographers, a wide variety of things inspire my work. I enjoy studying the work of past photography masters to understand how they captured life in front of their lens. I also enjoy and receive inspiration from paintings, sculptures, and interesting architecture. Music never fails to inspire me. Great cinematography always catches my eye and I try to dissect how the director created the storyline and inspired the viewers.
Despite all these awesome works by masters and experts in their fields, the single most inspiring scene for me is a view I get to wake up to many mornings. You see, the master bedroom of our home faces southeast with floor to ceiling windows. Our bed is on the north wall. Right before the sun rises, beautiful, soft, gentle light flows into our bedroom like a quiet mist, bathing the room with the most exquisitely soft, warm light in the world. I usually wake up to this early morning light and if I am lucky I get to lay quietly and observe the most beautiful scene in the entire world, one that inspires me in my photography and my life. It is my beautiful, awesome, wonderful wife of 30-plus years sleeping in our bed next to me.
I often lay there for what seems like hours, studying how the light flows across her face and the gentle curves of her body. Years ago I would just enjoy the beauty in front of me, but as time and my photography interests grew, I began dissecting this most exquisite live picture. I would observe how the light gently caressed her skin, so soft and peaceful yet radiant and alluring. My mind would wonder at the curves of her body and wonder how in the world God created such a beautiful person. Even today, the scene just continues to amaze me and inspire me.
During the many mornings I have observed this inspiring scene, I have wondered at how I can either capture that beauty with my lens or recreate that beauty in my pictures. Oh, I have tried many times. One time I even talked my wife Kay into posing in our bed for me while I tried to capture the beauty I saw in my eyes each morning. That was when I discovered how inadequate I was as a photographer and the limitations of my equipment. Despite what I thought were highly evolved skills, I was just unable to come close to the perfection I see most mornings.
Since that time I have studied, analyzed and observed the scene when I am lucky enough to see it. Kay often is off to the gym well before daylight, especially during the winter, so it is usually a weekend day when I get the luxury of enjoying, admiring and analyzing this beauty in front of my eyes. I make note of the large floor to ceiling windows, I try to figure out how to recreate the light from the early morning sun, and I try to calculate the camera angles, f-stops and other myriad of details that I would need to capture this incredible gift of a woman I have been given.
Unfortunately despite my many, many observations and attempts, I have not yet been able to either capture or recreate this vision of perfection. At times I feel inadequate. I have come close with a couple of pictures of my daughter Emily, but even those fall short of what I see each morning with my wife Kay.
While my inability to capture what I see frustrates me, it also inspires me. I strive to capture that incredible natural beauty that God provides me on many mornings. Like a golfer always striving for a perfect game, a violinist trying to hit the perfect note, or a baseball player trying to make the perfect swing, I have come to the realization that I may never be able to capture the true beauty of my wife sleeping in early morning sunlight. But the challenge for perfection motivates me, inspires me, and excites me each and every day.