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1/200s @ f/4.5, ISO 200. Copyright Aloha Lavina 2011.

Finders keepers

I still don’t have a photo of you that I like.

When I asked myself why this is so, the answer was, A photograph is an intention disguised as a fact of time, place and space.

Most days I see something – a flash of something in nice light – and there is a small flame of excitement that flickers inside. But mostly I don’t take my phone out to seek the harmony of a composition, and it’s like my feet have lost the ability to walk around a subject to find the frames that might work. And certainly I haven’t brought my camera out for 10 months except sometime in October.

I am stuck in someone else’s composition. In this loop of insane and stubborn stuckness, I am following the lines of surf snaking from side to side in one photograph on a wall, in a house that isn’t mine, the sun almost set in the background, and in the foreground a girl who is about to give herself to the photographer, forever, in this image in a negative or some hard drive in a house that isn’t hers.

And today I realize, what kind of conversation is this, this subject-photographer conversation, that he should own her or she should own him because he was the one who framed her in this image forever?

And what conversation do I seek now, if I am not to bury my photography in silent dusty rooms, sentence my mind to an insane loop of a single image that crumbles my entire creative universe?

I’m peeling layers off.

What I want most is to find myself, to find first a conversation with myself. I do not want to be anyone else.

Today this is what my images are saying to me:

My eyes seek beautiful simple things, and my composition is what I am: simple.

Often my images are just small disturbances. No one notices calm. Most people notice only storms and majestic vistas, but my hunch is that it doesn’t matter what other people want.

I like human landscapes. Nothing too profound. Often all it takes is paying attention. No airplanes, no drones, no fancy equipment. Just attention.

Ordinary things fascinate me. What I want is to see ordinary things in extraordinary ways with the naked eye.

I know that my images are a simple philosophy and even simpler composition. As long as I can use ways of seeing to understand the human landscape, I am happy.

Because really the goal is to seek new eyes and find beauty in the mundane. Not greatness or heights or to be admired. This art, too, is a search for something within. Something worth keeping.