Monday, January 25, 2010

An In Focus attitude

We are a different creature; we In focus photographers. We’re interested in more than just what it takes to make our pictures pretty — we try for meaning, for artistry, for expression.

From the moment we took full control of our camera, our vision and purpose changed. Our view of photography, our philosophy of creating a message (instead of just taking a picture) and then our persistence in sharing that truth (and the freedom it offered) made us different, it set us apart. It made us who we are.

Some of us were ostracized at first, our photos shunned, our intent belittled. But with time things change, attitudes adjust — art has a way of affecting everyone. Over the years our unique brand of creativity, of artistic focus and independent thought has grown. Hundreds upon hundreds of eager photographers have taken up the challenge of full manual control, have swam in the waters of creative freedom and have survived ... some have even succeeded. In Focus artists such as Lew Grinnan, Ed Coats and Jean Eichenlaub continue to tout the power of vision with their award-winning images, gallery exhibits and one-man shows. Head-strong and super-talented In Focus portrait photographers Stefanie Blue and Nikkie Achartz offer their brand of magic, bringing smiles to families throughout the county each day. Their flourishing photography business is proof positive of what happens when love, honesty and passion guide your actions. Strong message builders like In Focus veteran Sam Jones have taken this art form to the world. His greeting cards can be found in many of the four-star hotels and businesses throughout the county. Mark Wade, besides being an avid In Focus artist and award-winning 'painter' of light, recently released his first book that combines his love of visual communication and his thought provoking prose. Tim and Irene Hunt, both strong In Focus photographers have pooled their talent and released the first of many books designed to bring the love of nature to young children. Plus there have been the hundreds of local In Focus photographers who've shown their work in galleries and competitions for years.

It has been an uphill battle though. For too long has the world been subjected to the nonsense of the non-caring ‘professional photographer’ touting the most silly and useless of ideas. This iron-fisted grip of ignorance and fear needs to open. Integrity has to find a way in and YOU are the key. Your determination will lead others and your images will be a beacon of hope. You will make the difference in photography. You will change it from the record collection back into a pool of ideas and thoughts.

Everyone (whether ‘in focus’ or not) knows that manual control is the key to unlocking creative options and artistic freedom ... they've just forgotten it. So we, armed with courage, commitment and knowledge have to remind them, teach them. Our voices should raise up: “Creativity is found in the soul of the artist, not in the bottom of his camera bag.”

Expressionism is slowly returning to photography and it’s because of people like you — people who aren’t afraid of the truth and a little hard work. Remember, an In Focus photographer challenges the norm, they set the pace. We create our messages quickly, carefully and with purpose. We know that success without failure is meaningless and that every great image comes with a price — that of experience and vision. Not everyone can do what you do. Be proud of who you are, what you know and what you’re willing to learn. You are different. You are unique ... you an In Focus artist. Share that with the world, not just your amazing images.

The world desperately needs real artists right now and I am humbled by your courage and commitment to your goal. Continue the push toward that sea of creative freedom my friends. We can change the way the world thinks ... and maybe even teach of few of them to swim along the way.

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