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Do you and your family have a favorite travel destination that you've always gone to for rest and relaxation? Or did you grow up with fond memories of family getaways like these? Maybe you're starting the tradition with your own kids. These places become touchstones in our lives, filled with memories and impressions that grow and change as the years go by.
There are several layers to photographing trips to memorable destinations: you want to capture accurate depictions of the place and its surroundings, but you also want your photos to convey the notions of tradition and the passing of time. In this course, author and photographer Ben Long visits his family's New Mexico cabin. He shows how to create photos that not only capture the essence of the place and its surroundings, but also convey its significance as the backdrop for shared family experiences and traditions. Along the way, he shows how to recreate old photos to capture what has changed, shoot details that haven't been documented before, and explore the surrounding area, to capture the full essence of the place.
It's the morning after I got here. I, I'm not immediately pulling out my camera and running around starting shooting. I gotta kind of, in one way, separate myself from the place so that I can see it, and at the same time go really far into it so I can feel it and remember it. It's a, it's a strange process. And so I think what I'm going to do, to start with, is just sit down and talk to my parents. I had this idea that they've got a bunch of old pictures. We should start looking through there, because that's probably going to jog my memory, and really settle me into the place.
This covers such a huge span of my life, that I have lots of memories from different stages. I don't know which ones I'm interested in, or what it's possible to explore or record. And so we built this deck, and, and we had two electric drill guns, but we were spacing it with a pencil. So I would take the pencil and screw mine down, and I'd throw him the pencil, and he do that. And we went back and forth, and he says, you know, if we ever do this professionally, why don't we get ourselves another pencil? >> LAUGH >> For sure one thing I'm interested in is maybe finding some old photos and recreating them.
Partly because I think it's an interesting way to express the passage of time that has happened. But also because it's a simple thing that I can do right off the bat, that's going to get me really thinking about this place, and really get me kind of having a dialog with myself about it and with them. So I sat down with them, as we were talking and looking at images. It was impossible not to see wow, this place has changed so much. It's looked so many different ways, over the years, and partly that's, moving furniture in and out and I think this is probably a normal thing about a family cabin.
The furniture that you, don't want at home any more gets moved out here, there was a lot of that kind of thing, or a lot of, well we found this cool thing at a local junk shot or what not. But also a big part of it is my dad really likes to work on the place and change it and build new parts and improve it so there have been a lot of physical changes to this place. Splitting a room with a wall, changing out windows, adding a deck, repainting the place. There have been so many changes, and in some ways, some of them are sudden changes, and yet over the course of the whole story it's been a really gradual thing.
And I have to really stop and think about, oh yea, it looked really different when I was a kid, or it looked really different just ten years ago. This isn't a place that I come to more than maybe once a year. And actually this is the first time maybe in two years that I've been here. So there has been a lot of gradual change, that really struck me. I'm not sure what I want to do to capture that, if it's essential to capture that. But that's definitely something to stick away in my head and think about it as I'm trying to figure out my approach to this. So I think this was a good way to start getting organized.
We, I, I got three images that I know that I want to try and recreate. And there are a couple more that I may want to try and recreate. And that, that did seem to work to start to get me, kind of, settled in here and thinking about the place and about what I might want to do. These images are going to get me moving around the grounds around here which is good. Because even just being here just, the smell of the place is making me remember things. The sound of the crunch of my feet on the ground is making me remember things. So, this is a nice way for me to s, it's a, it's a good entry point.
So, I'm going to go re-shoot these three images and see where those lead me.
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