Connecting With Your Subject

Miss Genell, An Englehard Beauty

Miss Genell, An Englehard Beauty

There is a wide range of subjects I love to photograph – flowers, gardens, grand and intimate landscapes, seascapes and work boats, the rural landscape, including old barns and buidlings, rusty cars and beautiful light. And while I photograph birds, successful images are less frequent in part because I have a appreciation but not a passion to pursue them photographically.

Give me an old boat or barn or vine-covered house, and I’ll screech to a halt in milliseconds. The connection with these subjects is a now recognized passion for all things old, all things that speak of a life of hard work, and, in some cases, subjects that will one day be no more. My connection to the rural landscape, I now realize, goes back to my grandparents’ farm on Long Island, the long hikes in woods, along the waterfronts, and years of camping and exploring. While I hated digging in the dirt of our long garden growing up, I now have no hesitation to get down and dirty when photographing the “oldies.” Wet clothes will dry, hair can be combed, and poison ivy and chiggers have an itchy but limited lifespan.

And so, I share “Miss Genell,” an old shrimper docked in Englehard, Hyde County, NC. Whenever I head up to Lake Mattamuskeet or further on to the Outer Banks, I stop to see how “my boats” are looking, who’s there, what the light is doing, and spend at least a bit of time photographing. Sometimes, I get to talk with the fisherman and make connections, build relationships, share stories. Next time I head to Englehard, I have a few images to share with Miss Genell’s keeper. Perhaps, it will be among the few he may have.