LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU
By MICHAEL PERKINS
SINCE ITS LAUNCH IN APRIL OF 2012, The Normal Eye has tried to convey the infinite joy I’ve derived from a life behind the camera, that ever-present sense of anticipation and wonder each time the shutter clicks. And judging from the wonderful stories you have shared with TNE over the years, that wonder is infectious, feeding off each fresh discovery in technique and approach. The magic kicks in every time you turn a new corner and Learn. Just. One. More. Thing.
This forum has been an attempt to capture what happens when we first take our cameras off “automatic”, making those stumbling, uncertain first steps toward full responsibility for our shots. At first, it may be something as simple as a different aperture. Then it’s a slight departure from our comfort zone on composition. After that, perhaps a counter-intuitive approach to focus, or exposure. Eventually, our eyes and hands hunger for more and more independence, and a completely different kind of picture-making begins. We evolve from those who merely hit the button (and hope) to those who hunger to learn about all the other buttons, on our cameras and in our heads, that are dying to be engaged.
I’ve seen this engagement in your remarks, for which I truly thank you. I’ve learned from your websites and portfolios. I’ve marveled at how you’ve seized control of your art, step by step, resulting in a complete rubbishing of the rules and conventional wisdom. And I’ve delighted at the order you’ve harvested from chaos, the eloquence of those who have taught themselves to see anew.
This page, and my own work, have been nurtured by your boldness. You have, in fact, emboldened me. Together, we have all established a broad, bright line between (as our masthead says) taking pictures and making them, regardless of whether we wield a light-leaking Holga or a wallet-killing Leica, a cardboard pinhole or a DSLR. The Normal Eye continues to be dedicated, then, to teaching all of us to trust ourselves, and those stubborn little voices inside that insist that you really, no really, should just shoot the picture.
And see what happens.