Naming my art work Essence Photography was and is important for me to do. It had a direct affect upon developing a signature style before I knew what having a unique style meant. The naming insists that everything I do from capture to presentation communicates the essence of form and how it receives play of light.
Perhaps the most critical moment of essence awareness is during the time of photographic capture. I like George DeWolfe’s understanding of the capture time when he says “feel, see, click”. I believe that my very best captures, even when I first photographed years ago, were those that I remembered to ‘feel’ first. To feel utilizes all of one’s senses, taste, smell, see, hear, and touch. And of course and not least of all, intuition.
For example, if one were to photograph a glass of wine, the question becomes; what is the essence of this particular setting of wine? To discover its essence, why not touch the glass, smell the aroma, taste the depth, see its color, or hear the sound of the pour before any composition/technical considerations are made?
What does it feel like…
…to hear a bottle of wine’s contents being poured into a glass?"
…to see the unique color of a particular type of wine?
…to touch and sense the shape of the wine glass?
…to first smell the wine’s aroma?
…to then taste the wine and discover in one sip its heritage?
One of the definitions of essence is the word ‘lasting’. In photographing the subject of wine one might determine which of its characteristics has the most lasting quality? What intuitive sense speaks to you about what quality brings forth a ‘significant moment’ or ‘form presence’ that will last and last and last. The more compositional work and technical steps can then be engaged.
All of this is intimately linked to relationship building with those moments and subject forms that reminds us of the phrase, “…love at first sight.” Is it not the essence of one person immediately recognizing the essence of another with an emotional affinity quite similar to how an artist might connect with a subject or object? For me, this ‘essence’ relationship allows a photograph to be seen as a work of art. Art is a love affair between the artist within and the essence of another identity.