Where Is Your Path?

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Kfar Giladi Kibbutz, Israel border with Lebanon © Stewart Weir 2010

Say not, I have found the path of the soul. Say rather, I have met the soul walking upon my path.  For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.  The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.  Kahlil Gibran

Spear Of Destiny

Tel Aviv, Israel © Stewart Weir 2013
Tel Aviv, Israel © Stewart Weir 2013

The negative has been torn by accident. The image was taken on the beach in Tel Aviv. Down the coast on the left is Gaza and Lebanon up the coast is to the right. A ‘happy’ accident for the negative to be torn to create a spear? Destiny is shaped by mankind yet the path that is individually and collectively made has for thousands of years been mainly the wrong ones. I came across a poem by Max Ehrmann below and knew these were the words I wanted to put with this accident of an image.

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment is it perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

In Praise Of The Contact Sheet

The progression of a series of images when viewed on a contact sheet is an interesting way of understanding a photographer’s way of seeing. Years ago I arranged to see a photo editor at a new magazine and when I spoke on the phone they asked me to bring contact sheets and not a portfolio. I asked why and they said they were not interested in my ‘best images’ but more in how I shot a series.

Tel Aviv © Stewart Weir 2010

The image above and below were shot on the beach just before sunset. The image above shows a girl walking her dog to the right of the man on the left and the image below shows the girl. A contact sheet shows the process of creative thought and choice of angles when a photographer shoots. Its almost like a visual orienteering map of where they have been and how they work around what’s caught their attention.

Tel Aviv © Stewart Weir 2010

The contact sheet below shows the entire roll of film and is much more telling about my work than showing the two images above. Its the progression of images and how a photographer moves around that indicates where their creative thoughts are. For those shooting digital images the same rule applies. Look at your series of images from one shoot and look at how the set progresses. Editing is an art and one that every photographer must learn.