Photographers travel the world for beauty and exotic scenes. One of the most respected adventure photographers was Galen Rowell. I have a copy of his book “Galen Rowell’s Vision – The Art of Adventure Photography.” Here is what he wrote in his Foreword:
“The elements of the art of adventure apply just as much to a walk through a city park as to photography of the most exotic places on earth. I didn’t realize this when I started out. I have learned by experience that most of the power of photography comes from within us. When I connect emotionally with the world around me in my home city and state, I often get photographs that equal my best efforts in the far corners of the world.”
I read this many years ago and always keep it in mind. Two projects recently reminded me of just how true this is especially for those of us who live in the Northeast, and most especially for photographers who call New York City home.
The first one is the fabulous blog “Wind Against the Current” written by Vladimir Brezina and Johna Johnson. The blog post of theirs that caught my eye is “Kayaking Through the Gowanus Canal on the Eve of Sandy.” They had an adventure in the oil slicked waters of the canal paddling past deserted warehouses and factories and as usual they took lots of gorgeous photographs for their blog. A wonderful adventure and art project and — home and dry by dinner time! (Johna and Vlad don’t always stay so close to home. In fact they paddle all over the place. They don’t always get home for supper A good example is their circumnavigation of New York’s Long Island.)
Then yesterday I picked up a copy of Shutterbug magazine and read Jackie Weisberg’s article “Picturing The Gowanus Canal.” Jackie, a portrait photographer, lives near the canal and has been photographing the Gowanus canal for 20 years. The Brooklyn Historical Society recently acquired 17 of her photos and they are now part of their permanent collection. I couldn’t find an online version of the article, but Ms.Weisberg’s gorgeous gallery is available online.
So — I’m inspired and as a bonus — my approach has been confirmed once again. “In a single drop of water are many Buddha Lands” I like to tell people. It does help if the Gowanus Canal is in your backyard, of course. I love photography in my kitchen or the woods in town. But this inspiration calls for a bit more effort over time — more focus — so I’ve decided to pick up on the canal theme and announce a new project — The Cape Cod Canal project! Truth to tell, I’ve had this in mind since we moved to Sandwich last April, the home of the Cape Cod Canal Visitors center. So I have a few photographs to start with and I’ve created a gallery for your enjoyment right here.
Over the months of this year I’ll make a point to capture the moods of the canal, its wildlife and the habits of folks who fish, run and goof off there. Meanwhile have a look at these photos from 2012.