What is in a photo?
It is no secret that I have been contemplating and working on this martial arts series for awhile. Many people know that I have been grinding this idea through my creative thought processes for awhile. You usually ask yourself when you look at the photo, or any other work of art, "Where is the artist going with this?" Another questions that usually gets asked is, "What does this piece mean to me?" Every person has to determine what the image he or she is looking at means and how it relates to his or her own experience. A work of art is encompassed by everything in it, not just part of it.
I work hard at trying to figure out what something means to me, and then I analyze whether or not it is something I want to share with the world at large. In this current series I am working on in collaboration with my wife, Gina, we are trying to capture martial arts, and the story of its motion. Specifically, this story is told from the point of view of us as photographers, and from the point of view of the art of Kenpo Karate. Every art has a story. Every move has an origination point. If anyone is familiar with Kenpo, it is a set of concepts and principles that guide the practitioner in the use and practice of the art.
However, each martial artist has a story. Every training session has rhythm and pulse all its own. Everyone's mindset and point of view is unique. Just the same, lighting, setting, interpretation of the motion within a photo...those all help dictate the story of what is going on in the photo.
Gina and I love the ocean and spend a lot of time there. It influences what we do and how we see things. I believe that the ocean brings a large measure of peace to people when it is represented in art. This day in particular was an ideal day for photos and martial arts at the beach. It was the perfect temperature. The light was amazing. The waves and the wide open space was without compare. It made for perfect photos and a perfect setting for martial arts.
What I like about the photo above is Gina captured the moment near the point of origination for the kick. I like the horizontal composition because it speaks to horizontal motion, and it mirrors the beautiful horizon in the background.
One of my favorite aspects of art is the exploration of light and dark. Of course, the setting sun is perfect for setting up a dramatic environment for any scene, but something about training in martial arts as the sun sets over the horizon...it speaks volumes to one's mind and spirit. Further more, training at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, it further touches the soul. Gina did an amazing job of capturing the this kick in mid-motion and lining up the shadows of the landscape, as well as my silhouette, and getting the two to blend for a wonderful composition.
I truly love the photo sessions with my wife in martial arts because she is able to capture things in a way that I would not necessarily see if I was behind the camera, as opposed to being in front of the camera. It was an ethereal experience out on the beach that day. The sun was slowly falling toward the horizon, and there was this beautiful mist that shrouded the surrounding rocks as we shot photos and trained and explored the surrounding area.
This series is ongoing at the moment. We have not finished it to the point that we can present it in a complete and unified story or experience yet. We are working with other martial artists and many of the photos are still in development. However, the entire set will be presented in a unified manner in a gallery experience. We will be sure to post the announcement so anyone who wants to come view and share in it will be able to do so. Thanks for coming by and reading!
The location is Fort Bragg, CA. It was in the month of July for both of those photos. I will present the detailed information formally when they all go up for display!