A Gathering of Beagles

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A few months (really? that long? whew!) ago, a group of friends and peers, all photographers, from my old community met at the New Hanover County Library to do more than reminisce. Not that there wasn’t some bemoaning of “young know-it-all digital wanna-be’s” and the decline in prices once billable for what we offered in services; yet what was also present was a renewed sense of appreciation for each other and our contributions. More than once on our last day, I heard “I’m pleasantly surprised at how this gathering went, and I’m looking forward to next time.” What we will do with that opportunity does remain to be seen, but a recent posting on the Rangefinder magazine’s blog, AfterCapture, brought it all to mind, again.

Here’s a line from that blog, by Ethan Salwen, to tease you:

“The majority of photographers I interview are between 45 and 55, and they possess a depth that younger photographers do not. Yes, there’s something wonderful about the raw energy of the younger photographers I meet. It’s just that this energy might fizzle…”

I posted the link to the Facebook page of a group of photographers here in Raleigh, NC,  RPG (Raleigh Photography Group), and was rewarded by a message of appreciation. I felt compelled to respond, thusly:

As “wise” as we are, we do forget our own gifts, but most especially when we are facing so much change, around us.

selfie, using an android app



Somehow, I think the trick may be to be Willing to change, And to keep true to what gifts we carry.
I think the day and the future are “right” to challenge us, so we don’t give too much credence to the husk of what we’ve made up about life, and so that we Do remember to stay present, conscious, curious, and grateful… therefore, growing.
Those who are making the day/future would also do well to listen and evaluate what we old-timers have to say, too. Neither is All right.. each has a piece of it. Only by taking heart and connecting with each other can we keep what is true alive and vibrant, I think.
Making new images doesn’t hurt, either, eh?
One re-minder that comes to me, occasionally, goes something like this: “you are most who you are when you are in the Turn from one endeavor to the next”.

(I’d love to attribute that paraphrase to whoever said what I’m paraphrasing, so if anyone knows where that came from, a comment would be welcome.)

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Wayne Upchurch

For years, as a “professional ogler” (a newspaper staff photographer), I simultaneously explored photography as craft/process/medium in its own right. The photojournalism work –credentials and mindset– got me into (and out of) places I would certainly never have had access to on my own. I was also practicing the discipline of getting a picture where there didn’t appear to be one and getting it Finished in a timely manner, to professional standards. I also learned to create imminently readable images despite poor reproduction in a small size. Though it took me several years to get this, the value of making photos that illustrated something already laid out in the story was suddenly Not Enough, and I began to make assignment pictures that added dimensions not already in the writing, or better Yet, raised questions so that the reader would go to the story for more answers. Having gained more than dreamt of, when starting out, I left to pursue my own personal photography, mounting exhibits along the way. I also worked with commercial photographer friends doing studio product photography, and making headshots for actors. Later, I also helmed a Public Radio “spacemusic” program, and acted in a Wilmington, NC drama company. I put the cameras away for a few years, to finish shedding the habit of self-limiting my identity as just “Photographer”, and can now pursue personal pleasure and expression through the freedom that digital imaging offers. Sharing photos on Flickr and participating locally in meetups and outings has renewed a passion for making new images and for sharing the process with others. For some time, I’ve found myself writing detailed comments on other people’s photos, as well as thoughts and pet ideas about photography, in general.

One thought on “A Gathering of Beagles”

  1. I LOVE that selfie of yours! Oh my word. To me, as Finn, it looks like someone really really enjoying a summer’s day on a jetty by a lake. What a face. 🙂 Love it. Right. I’m going to print it and pin it to my wall to remind me to stop and enjoy life.

    Wouldn’t mind attending one of your meetings next time. If I happen to be in the neighbourhood. The area of Brighton I live in at the moment is called Hanover, by the way. (!)

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