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Developing From A Negative

Photo: Taelar Pollmann ⋅ The Sentry

Desert Island

The desert island ice breaker poses an extreme scenario that forces a person to declare their pinnacle musicians or movies. I’ve taken this game a step further with my inner circle of people and I will often pose variations of this classic like, ‘What is your desert island word?’

For what it’s worth my single favorite word is punctum. In the book Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes he uses the term to help the viewer of a photograph analyze the contents within the frame. Punctum refers to the part of the image that captivates the viewer. “That accident which pricks, bruises me.” It could be anything from the way a shadow falls across a face or the color of the sky.

For the purpose of this column I want to address my desert island activity. If you are expecting an answer that isn’t related to photography, then we clearly have not met. In its simplest form, my favorite activity is observing the world moving around me. Photography gives me the ability to integrate the art of observation into a profession.

Susan Meiselas, an American documentary photographer, sums it up well with this quote: “The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.”

If I did not have a camera in my hand, there are many events I would never have experienced. Being a photographer is almost like having the ability to become invisible. I’ve captured concerts, celebrities, conventions, weddings, and mundane moments on my commute that all connect back to my desert island activity; the art of observing the world around me. Now that we’ve reached the end, what is your desert island activity?

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