Here Before Me

“A very receptive state of mind… not unlike a sheet of film itself – seemingly inert, yet so sensitive that a fraction of a second’s exposure conceives a life in it.” ~Minor White

Last Summer I took a trip to San Francisco and Big Sur. While it was unquestionably beautiful I found it equally stirring. As I strolled San Francisco I thought about what it might have been like in 1945 to be a student at the California School of Fine Arts Department of Photography. How much could a receptive mind learn from the likes of Adams, White, Lange, and Cunningham? As I explored the city I wondered if some of the things that caught my eye might have also caught theirs.

Later in the trip as we worked our way south I stopped at Point Lobos and set off on a solitary hike. I came across a tide pool and was mesmerized by it–shooting pictures as the patterns swirled and transformed. In a sudden rush I pictured Weston perched over that same tidal pool or one just like it shooting the ever-transforming scene; was he equally enraptured when he captured Tide Pool, Point Lobos (1940)?.

For everything that is good in this life, we owe something to those who came before. They are the trailblazers, the brave ones, the visionaries. And while I think they’d be flattered by all the attention, I’m pretty sure after some time they’d tell us to get the hell off of their path and find our own. It isn’t the path after all that’s great, it’s the exploration.

I’ll start tomorrow; today I’m emulating.



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  1. Posted April 17, 2012 at 11:36 pm by fabrizio | Permalink

    beautiful and great panorama with a special sense of freedom with this bird!!! lovely provessinf in monochrome too, it’s a great proposal my friend

  2. Posted April 18, 2012 at 12:37 am by Jon Ander | Permalink

    Very great shot. You have done very well with the lights and the “darks” of the scene. I like it!

  3. Posted April 18, 2012 at 12:39 am by yz | Permalink

    beautiful view and the bird puts the cherry on the pie

  4. Posted April 18, 2012 at 6:25 am by Klaus | Permalink

    First thought, fly like a bird. Amazing landscape shot Christopher. Like the clouds, looks like a big cotton ball.

  5. Posted April 18, 2012 at 6:48 am by rian | Permalink

    yep, the world we live in is vast and aside from these famous places we know of there’s a lot more unique stuff to see and shoot that needs to be discovered..

  6. Posted April 18, 2012 at 8:18 am by Corinna | Permalink

    You are so damn good.

  7. Posted April 18, 2012 at 8:44 am by Frida | Permalink

    Love how the bird owns the image just by flying in to the scene.

  8. Posted April 18, 2012 at 9:23 am by sherri | Permalink

    this photo is perfect on every level. breath-taking.

  9. Posted April 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm by joshi daniel | Permalink

    stunning and the bird gives a sense of calmness to the dramatic view :)

  10. Posted April 19, 2012 at 12:07 am by k@ | Permalink

    I’d love to back in SF, i miss it, and your image reactivates my desire to be here. Yes, let’s be grateful ! Always.

  11. Posted April 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm by Brenda | Permalink

    In June, I am traveling to NYC – one of my goals is to shoot in Grand Central Station like one of my heroes – Berenice Abbott – who made documenting New York her life’s work. We can learn a lot through emulation, from study of the greats who have come before us. But yes, eventually we have to find our own path.

  12. Posted April 20, 2012 at 8:01 am by george | Permalink

    There’s very little that’s ‘new under the sun’ in photographic terms, it’s all been done before. But. looking at the work of the the masters, can inspire us to extend and further ideas and concepts. A parallel path moving in the same direction so as to speak.

    Sorry, getting carried away, just love the way that the bird adds a delicate balance to the seascape…

  13. Posted April 21, 2012 at 11:54 am by rolandtheys | Permalink

    A excellent photo!

  14. Posted April 22, 2012 at 10:52 am by Kris Koeller | Permalink

    Beautiful shot. Love the black and white treatment.

  15. Posted April 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm by Marcie | Permalink

    What a gorgeous image and tribute to those who came before us. Who would we ‘be’ without??

  16. Posted April 23, 2012 at 5:11 am by Will | Permalink

    Beautiful landscape, I love the rolling clouds and the churning sea. The gull on top left corner makes the photo for me though, I love seeing a bit of a living breathing creature gives a sense of scale, really really beautiful.

  17. Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm by Kala | Permalink

    Beautifully composed photo. The soaring bird is the icing on the cake.

  18. Posted April 24, 2012 at 8:33 am by Rob | Permalink

    What a view, wonderful image. While we learn from those in the past, it is important we all branch out and as you say, explore for ourselves.

  19. Posted April 25, 2012 at 1:31 am by Aurore | Permalink

    How i loved this place ! Thanxx Christopher for your beautiful b&w and thoughts.

  20. Posted April 25, 2012 at 4:10 am by Doug Hickok | Permalink

    Excellent and evocative image and post Chris… I confess to having walked in your shoes and the shoes of Weston as well. I loved visiting the Big Sur coast and Point Lobos, so many years ago, though I was there to watch the birds and take in the scenic vibes (my pre-photography days)!

  21. Posted May 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm by John Maslowski | Permalink

    Breathtaking shot and the bird adds to the majestic beauty of this scene. Well done!

  22. Posted June 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm by Rue Du Lavoir | Permalink

    Magnifique paysage. La scène est impressionnante. L’oiseau représente beaucoup. Il déporte l’attention. Il nous emmène ailleurs. Notre regard sur la photo n’est alors plus le même.

  23. Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm by faisal | Permalink

    nice clouds!

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