While sorting through my file cabinet the other day, I came across an old paper; it was a one-page article on Freeman Patterson, an interview of sorts with him, published in Reader. Can’t even recall what the ‘Reader’ was! But I always loved the conversation with him that they published.
Here’s the opening excerpt:
“I went to Europe one summer like millions of others. And I had to take a camera. That was my first camera. I knew right then. It gave me an opportunity to focus on things that matter to me. As a kid on the farm, everything had to have a functional purpose; anything attractive or beautiful was not important to life. If I was interested in the beauty of a field of daisies and lilies, well, they had to be mowed down. My mother loved flowers; she never had time to have a garden. But she would notice the rustle of brown grasses, the glint off a bird’s wings – she knew that these things had value.”
The rest of the article is wonderful, too, but that opening paragraph really grabbed me the first time and grabs me now again. In our busy days of working and functioning, it’s easy to forget that things can have a value beyond just being functional. I grew up with a Dad who was structured, (read regimented, in some ways!). He was always busy, had a plan, and had plans for us – i.e. to work in the yard – “rake those stones away, mow the lawn, rake up leaves, weed the garden”, etc. But thankfully in his own way he appreciated the outdoors, too, and mom – well, she loved gardens and had time for them so we had lots of flowers around us. Our little plot of land was part woods, part gardens, part lawn; it drew in the birds, and some pesky possums and racoons; and it was my outdoor world, and that laid the foundation for my love of nature. I’m so grateful for that. I’m certain it was the foundation for my passion for outdoor photography.
The image above is from Rockport, Maine – the infamous Belted Galloway cows that live there, seen one foggy morning. It was appropriate since Freeman spoke of growing up on a farm!
Made with a Canon camera, processed with Nik Software.
Great post, Brenda! Freeman’s books were the FIRST books I ever read that spoke to the artistic aspect of photography – how to make a photograph. He still rates #1 as my favorite writer and teacher. One of my most cherished memories is the week workshop I spent with him, where my photography took a huge leap. Blessings to Freeman, and thank YOU for bringing back warm memories of a very rich experience…
Greg – this is great to hear – I know that he has touched so many lives with his work and his philosophy and the blog is a great place to rekindle that with readers and spread the ‘news’ so more people will learn about him and his work. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the post. Freeman Patterson is one of my favorite photographers and is probably the reason that I got into photography and that it is such an important part of my life. His images are nothing less than stunning and his ability to find beauty in the ordinary is an important lesson to keep in mind.
I agree, Randy – he was a mentor-from-afar many years ago for me and continues to inspire me. Thanks for sharing your commments here.
Oh my gosh!!! I thought that was an FP photo until I read the last sentence! Not sure why. Maybe the fog, and the sheep looking down to eat the grass unaware of their beauty and what surrounds them. Sort of religious philosophical undertones. Awesome scene, thanks for sharing!!
You’re welcome, Kalani!
Thanks for this posting, Brenda!
You’re welcome, Lin.