August 13, 2015

"Sunrise in Fog" by Eric Rennie

Every photograph is still; hence, the name of the medium: still photography.  But not every photograph conveys stillness, which is evoked from a place deep within oneself.  So how does a photographer convey stillness in a still medium? “When you approach something to photograph it,” Minor White advised, “first be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence. Then don't leave until you have captured its essence.”   Being still with yourself is the key; indeed, if you are not, you will never find stillness in your subject.  As to how the object of your attention affirms your presence, I cannot say.  That is a bit of a mystery.  How does the Zen archer hit his target without aiming?


Not every subject lends itself to stillness, of course.  When I am photographing my eight-year-old granddaughter, I am too busy trying to keep up with her to worry about finding stillness in myself.  So what sorts of subjects best convey stillness?  I did an image search recently using Google and discovered that a great many of the pictures linked to the word “stillness” were of water.  I can’t say I am surprised.  Water, when it is still, becomes a mirror to the world, just like the mind. 


My photograph above, taken several years ago along the Connecticut River, is on display from August 14, 2015 through September 27, 2015 at the A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas near Austin.  The exhibition, entitled "Still," is curated by photographer Kate Breakey.  Sixty images were selected for the show out of 768 submitted.