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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.
Skill Level Intermediate
So, I am sitting in a room that I have sat in a lot over the last 30 years or so. This is my parents cabin in New Mexico. They bought it when I was a kid. I've come here in the late fall, mid fall, which is actually not a time of year that I have spent a lot of time here. I have arrived and I've got my gear with me, and they're here. And I'm, I'm wanting to document this place somehow. It's been a, a really big part of my life. And of course, they've been shooting pictures for 30 years.
But I would, I would like to really try to create a, a somewhat thoughtful documentation that services my own. Memories and feelings about the place. Curiously enough, I'm not sure what those memories and feelings are, so I'm in a weird situation here. This is in a way, a straight kind of documentary project. I'm, I'm going into this place to figure out how to try and report it. Weird thing is it's one of the most familiar places In the world to me. In fact, it's so familiar, I'm not even sure what it is that I know about it or think about it or remember about it.
I, everything here is so familiar that I don't even notice the details anymore. As a photographer, you're probably used to this problem of it's difficult to shoot in an area that you're very familiar with because you don't see it. You know it too well and that's really the case now just looking around the room. It's a...I'm sorry looking at a light fixture up here. I just don't even notice the light fixtures anymore. Now that I look at them I realize, wow, they are really characteristic. That's a detail that maybe I want to look at. The bigger point being, before I can even get started shooting, I've got to try and kind of figure out what the story of this place is for me.
I'm not hoping to come out with sort of a narrative of any kind. That's not what I need. I'm, I'm not even sure if I'm going to come out of this in anything that is going to have much interest to other people. Maybe I would like to go for that eventually. Right now, what I want to do is really figure out what the images are. That will speak to me and help me preserve the memories that I have, maybe find some that I have lost. I'm not really sure what this project is. And, and that's kind of one of the most interesting things about it is I'm going to have to figure it out as I go.