One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is how we utilize things to create a feeling, a sense of nostalgia. I was reading in this month’s Magnolia Journal, and I noticed how Joanna talks about the feelings of Autumn. She mentions creating a list of things that help her create that feeling for her family including smells, tastes, and colors. Another place I saw this example was when watching the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix. As the creators were talking about the pitfalls of social media, they used darker lighting and dramatic music. Those elements combined with their word choice helped the viewer feel the sense of dread, a message they clearly wanted us to feel as we watched. Towards the end, as they discussed possible solutions, they used more uplifting music, leading the viewer to a sense of hope. I find all of this interesting as a consumer and as an artist. When creating my own work, what elements can I use to allow the viewer to feel my intention? So much goes into how we want our viewer to feel. Every time I pick up my camera, I have to decide what lens I want to use, what settings, what type of light, colors, and composition. Each of those choices contributes to a message that I am trying to convey. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of freelensing, I think, because I want to see the world not as it is, but as the illusion that I have created it to be. I’ve also been using a lot of hard light, again, because I think it demonstrates by own obsession with both the light and dark in this world. I’ve even been picking up my telephoto lens, my 105mm, because I want to notice the details of my day vs taking it all in on setting. Every choice I make as a photographer, as an artist, contributes to the message I want to convey and the feeling I’d like them to feel.

How else is this helpful beyond making art? When I can pay attention to the ways in which a creator is manipulating me, I have a choice in how I want to respond. Are influencers wanting me to buy the latest product because they get a commission off of it? Yes. Can I see that they are doing that? I hope so. Because, then I have a choice. Do I actually think that item is going to improve my quality of life? Or do I just feel what they want me to feel so that I am motivated to buy it? Does this documentary make sense to me? Is it inciting fear because fear needs to be felt? Or are they just using artistic elements to lead me to feel a certain way because they have their own agenda? One of the interesting lessons I’ve learned as a documentary photographer is that there is no so thing as a photojournalist. No matter how little I mess with the scene, the way in which I capture it is still influenced by my own perspective and life experience. It HAS to be because I AM me. I cannot create anything without my perspective. This entire world is created out of our perspectives. I actually really love that but where the freedom comes is when I realize I have the ability to make it what I want it to be.