Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Korean War Veterans Memorial in Fall

In my first photography class in college, one of our assignments was to select one object and take pictures of it from 20 different perspectives. Each photo needed to be completely different in order to be counted. After taking about 12 unique photos of a garden fountain, I began believing that this assignment was too easy. Then, I got to photo #13. Creating a new perspective of a subject I had been filming for at least an hour became very challenging. After 20 minutes in vain, frustration set in; the new photos started looking like the older ones and I was still stuck on photo #13.

Then, I remembered something the professor had shared when he gave the assignment. In order to complete this task, we would have to become inventive and creative. Through our camera's viewfinder, we would have to find new ways to see this object. We needed to keep moving the camera, lens and ourselves and adjust the focus and distance to uncover the hidden aspects of the fountain which would be missed by convention alone. By changing our perspective of the subject, we transform and reinvent it for the photo's viewer. Once I altered my perspective, I took photo #13. And after another hour, I completed the assignment. My final photos were the best of the bunch. It taught me how to become a photographer who invents new ways to film a subject and as a result, generates more interesting photographs.

As one will note on this blog so far, I love revisiting subjects. Each visit with an inventive, creative spirit and camera viewfinder, I'm able to always discover something new about a familiar subject. Last year on a crisp Autumn morning at dawn, I ventured to the National Mall to photograph my Mom's favorite memorial -- the Korean War Veterans Memorial -- for her Christmas gift. Using this same photographic tactic, I rediscovered the beauty of a monument I had visited many times before. The resulting photos are some of the best I've ever taken. Each Tuesday and Thursday during October and November, I'll be posting a new photo from that session. As a starting point, today's post is the standard postcard shot of the memorial. Hopefully by the end of November, you'll see this memorial in a new way too.

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