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Summer Editorial 2008

Photos by Sheena Wilkie

Share your work, share your beauty

By Sheena Wilkie


In this issue, you will read Helene Anne’s article “Beauty: The Essence of Life “, in which she speaks about the beauty to be found within and around each of us. We find beauty in different places and in unique ways.

 In my case, I’ve found that the beauty in people is what inspires me most. I believe that all people are beautiful, and with this in mind, it’s joyous to photograph them. It’s as exciting to look for and find the hidden elements of beauty as it is to emphasize the beauty that is readily apparent. In photographing people, it’s necessary to look far deeper into their character than I otherwise would or could. This has affected my life profoundly.

 Photography has always been about helping us see things that we otherwise might not. As Diane Arbus said, “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” Photography pushes us to see our subjects more carefully and completely than in ordinary life. Later, at the computer (or light table…?), our photos continue to afford us second and third looks, inviting deeper examination and contemplation.

 Think for a moment about what it would be to live without photography. Only our memories would allow us to see children after they have grown or the meadow after the houses are built. This is the magic of photography. Memories are imperfect and rarely last so long as emulsion or ink on paper.

 Some may feel that the act of creating a photograph alone satisfies their creative soul. I will not dispute this. But we humans are social animals, and most of us also derive pleasure from interaction with others. Many photographers probably haven’t considered the incredible interactive aspects that photography can offer. Scenes and faces, feelings and impressions, ideas and knowledge can all be transmitted to another person, or even a multitude of others — all through a single photo. A picture really is worth a thousand words. And when viewed, the effect is like lightning-fast mental telepathy. Yet another magical element of photography.

 But all too many photos are put on a hard disk drive, or places in a negative file, and remain there. There may be a thousand of your photographs languishing there. A thousand unique scenes, perhaps hundreds of subjects, faces, people, locations and buildings. A million words. Unseen and unshared, they represent lost opportunities. After your next shoot, when you clear your memory card or file your negatives, remember this. Neither beauty nor photography exist in a vacuum. Share your work, share your beauty.


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