Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Freeman Patterson has left the building
Joseph Campbell said “the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
I am lucky to be a member of a camera club who hosted the incomparable Freeman Patterson, a Canadian photographer and writer of world renown, and a deeply soulful man. We were treated to lectures, field trips and dinners with Freeman, who is an extraordinary teacher of visual design i.e., he teaches one how to "see" the world.
After ten days of workshops, lectures and field trips, he taught a lesson in trust - trust to go with your heart, and your instincts. I think it's going to make us a better club, particularly as competitive is a dirty word in his books. Freeman is all about the inspiration, the euphoria in the moment when you see something and capture it with your camera which, if you pay attention, usually reflects something in your subconscious. Hmm, what does this say about mine?
I'm guessing we are going to change the way we hold competitions in our club and in fact, they may disappear entirely because really, how do you compete in photography? It is so subjective and even the old rules like the rule of three or always having a central focus no longer applies. Freeman doesn't even like the word "critique" and prefers the word evaluation instead.
I was intimidated at first, because I'm still fairly new to photography and not that savvy when it comes to the tech stuff, so I was afraid he'd launch into a technical rant so common amongst some members of our club. Sometimes I'll ask a question of the wrong person, and get an answer that reminds me of this Larson cartoon:
What we say to dogs: "Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage, or else!"
What they hear: "blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah GINGER blah blah...."
But spend even a few minutes with Freeman, and you quickly learn that it's not about whether you're a beginner or a professional, it's about finding and unleashing your creativity to your absolute fullest. That's liberating and cause for euphoria, wouldn't you say?
"Seeing, in the finest and broadest sense, means using your senses, your intellect, and your emotions. It means encountering your subject matter with your whole being. It means looking beyond the labels of things and discovering the remarkable world around you." F.P.
If you want to see some of his amazing images, go HERE
If you want to read a great interview with Freeman, go HERE