In the world today, despite the issues that might divide us, such as nationality, religion, race, the generation gap and political viewpoints, there are at least two aspects of life we all enjoy. These are sports and art.

The fundamentals of art focus on human activities related to concepts and perceptions such as creativity and interpretation found in one of the several philosophical branches. These include 1-literature, 2-music, 3-painting, 4-sculpture, 5-architecture, 6-theater and dance. Since the rise of the film industry, cinema has been considered a seventh art. Some would argue that these enumerated branches are too limiting; for example, décor, once catalogued under “painting”, may now be considered a separate branch.

PHOTOGRAPHY is another later-born industry that is widely popular and growing very rapidly. If we look deep into the world of photography, we’ll see many modes, such as portrait, still life, landscape, nature, wildlife, sport, macro, travel and journalistic. Since the invention of digital cameras and PhotoshopTM, we have an additional category: “creative.” Each category requires a different technical skill set and unique support tools.

Simply put, photography is the art of light and visualization. Although this definition is not incorrect, it is certainly insufficient. During the brief moment that pros aim their camera lens on an object, they can present a philosophical way of living or an aesthetic experience. Technical skills are not enough to make a good photographer: if he or she lacks an original idea and proper framework for an aesthetic experience, the image will not become a meaningful and valuable picture. One may learn technical skills from school, books, or friends and acquire them at a slow or quick pace, yet remain unable to learn the thought process in the subconscious mind of the professional photographer. In contrast, one may have a good grasp on an original concept, but if it is shallowly expressed, one cannot win the heart of the beholder.

Point Reyes

In our civilized society, people have basic needs such as food, clothing, warmth, rest and housing. However, in order to thrive, we must develop our self-actualization. Art can play a significant role in this self-fulfillment.

Art is so vast and abstract a concept that there is no form, no formula or defined standards. Therefore, even if artists are assigned identical subjects, they will each have a different view of it, as well as their own interpretation.

My body of work, created with my personal supply of technical skills and resources, may make for a relatively small contribution to the world of art. However, the journey of making art has helped me to lead a positive lifestyle and motivated me to seek peace, health and happiness. Let me share with you a quote that well expresses my attitude toward life and photography: “Happiness consists in activity. It is a running stream, not a stagnant pool.” *

Ducte Le

* John Mason Good