Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons
October 23, 2013

Get Lost In A Photograph

This is another of my ethereal posts. Sorry – when you’re old, you feel the need to delve into the deeper end of the ocean.

I’ve been editing photos to music lately as well as playing some music. My friend Neil Vineberg (AKA Shambhu) has inspired me to create an album.

As I’ve been listening to and playing a great deal of music lately, I’ve noticed yet ANOTHER similarity between the art of photography and music.

I watched some old Led Zeppelin performances recorded live. Then I switched to John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Just to add some variety, I added some David Gilmour Live In Gdansk and a concert performed by famed cellist YoYo Ma.

As I watched (and listened to) these incredible masters, I noticed something. They all make it look VERY easy. When they are playing I am convinced they “take a trip.” They go somewhere. Call it being in the zone. Liken it to bliss or nirvana. Whatever, wherever it is, you can’t deny it. In that moment, when they are performing something they love, doing it as well as they’ve ever done it, amazing and entertaining and enchanting others, they are lost. They are lost in another dimension. You can see it on their faces. Take for example this clip of YoYo Ma playing Bach’s Cello Suite Number 2. (

Ma is lost. He’s lost in the moment of creation. He’s gone somewhere special and the result is undeniable art.

As photographers, we may not be able to close our eyes and produce amazing images, but we can get to a place of mental clarity where our entire being is devoted to translating what appears before us (and our camera) into something special.

I think I’ve been able to work in this sub-conscious space a dozen or so times in my career. That means I’m kissing the bottom of the 10th rung of the ladder so to speak. I don’t have enough time left here to become a true master of photography the way that John McLaughlin and Jimmy Page mastered the music they make with a guitar or that Ma makes with a cello or that Gilmour made with Pink Floyd. But I can aspire to it.

And here’s where you come in. What if you started thinking that way NOW, before you are old like me? What if you started trying to get lost in your photography? It would mean removing as many distractions as possible and putting yourself into a pure space. A space where there is only you, your camera and your subject.

There are so many places you could go. You could get lost in your photography and the results might just be transcendental.

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