“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
 
Dorothea Lange
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WHY I MAKE PHOTOGRAPHS...
For me, photography has always been about trying to better understand my subject…which basically means trying to understand and convey what that subject is saying about its own state of affairs; which is sometimes quite visually pleasing, and sometimes not. And the lens is merely a kind of “empathic” machine that enables that task. It is a catalyst to enhance coalescence of spirit and mind, in which the former strives to reach out (via the mysterious inner mechanical workings of the camera) and somehow open a portal of communication with what many would consider an otherwise totally inanimate subject, such as a solitary boulder, some Rancher’s old fence post, or a forgotten gravesite. In actuality, such objects are not isolated and inanimate. Instead, the “boulder” or “fence post” evolve and perish in the context of their surroundings; and they continuously dance to the music of the light that shines upon them. At the same instant my analytical mind is struggling to consolidate and reconcile the many visual cues and shifting variables of the subject, trying rather desperately at times to second guess how my camera will see and interpret the scene.
         
As a beginner in the old days (for me, that was the early 1980s), I always tried to make sharp undistorted images, like Ansel Adams and his minion modern disciples, as if that would most faithfully record the real sense of a scene. But nowadays I care little about the exact technical specifications of a camera. Instead, I’m much more interested in the image context and the mood it reveals, as well as the feeling it invokes in my viewers. And since I’m interested in emotional responses, I have no conflict with taking artistic license and editing my photographs to greater or lesser extents to help communicate the feeling of a place and time as I myself experienced it...or would like to experience it. Of course the ultimate message from a photograph is:  This is what remains now, but a split second from now, everything can change. As a landscape photographer, I feel success when I can stir the spirit of a viewer and catalyze in them a new vision of their world that is more complex, nuanced and mysterious than they previously believed it to be.
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All images in "Ghost Winds Gallery" are copyrighted by Harry Ridgway and may not be shared or reproduced without prior written consent.