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Behind the Lens: Exploring the subject

Success for many visual artists begins with the simple task of identifying a subject and exploring it to its fullest.  Discarded hammers from an abandoned piano caught my eye as I photographed multiple shots of the subject. The freedom to choose a subject and the limitation of that choice can be liberating and inspirational for a photographer.

An abandoned piano is of little news value. But as a photographer, my eye was drawn to the neglected instrument.

I grabbed my iPhone and created multiple photos exploring the piano. It was a quick and concentrated exercise in the visual study of one subject. I tried not to judge the worth of each shot. I simply framed parts of the piano that drew my eye. Using an iPhone and a Hipstamatic camera filter app added a sense of play and informality to the activity. No reason was required to produce the work other than the joy of participating in the creative process.

Success for many visual artists begins with the simple task of identifying a subject and exploring it to its fullest. The freedom to choose a subject and the limitation of that choice can be liberating and inspirational. It isn’t the grandness of the subject that is important, but rather the dedication and enthusiasm you have for the subject.

For 32 years at the Journal-World I feel I have explored and photographed Douglas County to its fullest. Although my job has ended, my love for photography will continue. Who knows — you may even see this column and some of my photos still show up here from time to time.

My thanks to Dolph Simons Jr. for hiring me, all the colleagues I’ve shared a newsroom with and everyone in this community who has expressed their appreciation for my photos and this column through the years.

Comments

Charles L. Bloss, Jr.

As an amateur photographer, I have enjoyed your work for many years in the LJW. I did not like it when the newspaper was sold, and it still angers me that so many competent people lost their jobs. I wish you the best. I do not have a smartphone, but still have my 35mm digital camera and lenses. I wish I could get out more to take photos. Fall is my favorite time, and when I seem to get the best shots.

1 year, 2 months ago

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John T. McQuitty

Mike, I read your article this morning. I had previously heard that your contract was not renewed by the new owners. I was hoping it was a misprint. Your photography has been wonderful, and your advice right on, down to earth, common sense, and helpful.

We have met several times, and I took one of your classes/seminars. You have always been extremely congenial and helpful to me as an amateur photographer. I will miss your photos in the paper., as, I'm sure many others will.

I wish you only the best in the future. I hope you will still be in the area for Lawrence will be less without you. You are a great photographer. Maybe now you will have time to indulge even more n the fine art/creative side of your photographery. Even though you don't know me, I would consider you a friend. The paper may live to regret their decision.

Anyway, Best Wishes to you and your family. With your talent, I'm sure you will find meaningful work soon. Peace. John T. McQuitty

1 year, 2 months ago

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