Sea Intimacies: Keeping it Fresh
As a photographer, living in an iconic coastal region such as the Oregon Coast has presented me with both challenges and opportunity. Bandon beach is five minutes from my home and other coastal locations are within close driving proximity. This allows me easy access and the luxury of time with a beautiful subject. The challenge is to not take it for granted and thus get bored with it photographically. Shooting the same iconic scenes in the same manner was making my portfolio look repetitive. As a result, I was beginning to lose interest in shooting. That is what my dad would call “a first- class problem”. It is what I would call my being an ungrateful wretch. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but you get my point.
My new project, called Sea Intimacies, a collection of small seaside scenes, is providing me with a fun and interesting, new challenge. Hunting for the more intimate has improved my observation skills and allowed me to notice treasures previously overlooked. My creative output has increased and I’m having fun with photography again! Many landscape artists have taken to creating what is now termed, “intimate landscape” scenes. The expression felt a bit over used to me, so at some point I decided to coin a phrase for myself and “sea intimacies” is what I came up with. This describes my small scenes specific to coastal regions. I kind of liked the term so I stuck with it.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and I would add, creativity. When I began doing workshops here on the Oregon Coast it became clear to me that I needed to find interesting things for folks to shoot regardless of weather. Obviously, we have an abundance of fog, drizzle and overcast skies. All of that can be a bit of a drag to photograph in. I need to be able to say, “overcast? hmmm….let’s go shoot some small stuff”! It’s taken over a year of “digging in”, but I am beginning to come up with images that make me smile.
This type of shift in perspective is not easy. It takes tenacity, time and the desire and discipline to look with new eyes. I went up and down the coast to discover little pockets of undiscovered gems. I tried not to be enticed by my usual, go- to compositions and icons. My goal was to find beautiful images that did not require cloudy, colorful skies. It took a while to get some good ones, but I did, and now I am super motivated and inspired!
In summary, three reasons led me in this direction: 1) The need to provide quality and variety to workshop participants. 2) The Oregon Coast is a popular photography hotspot and the market is saturated with gorgeous coastal, icon images. Thus, the desire to offer a new and fresh perspective. 3) I needed to find a way to rise out of a personal creative rut.
Of course, we all love shooting the icons but my own work is becoming more interesting to me by virtue of expanding my perspective. I am seeking the uncommon to make my coastal portfolio stand out from the masses. It is allowing me to delve into the realm of story- telling with depth and new vision and insight. My available shooting time has expanded greatly because I don’t wait around for “perfect” skies anymore. The double frosting on the cake is that I feel renewed and excited about shooting again, and with that, a welcomed freshness has begun to emerge from my body of work.
Will I continue to shoot the Wizard’s Hat and Howling Dog on Bandon beach? Of course I will! I’m just adding more to the story now.
If you would like to see more of my small coastal scenes please go to my Sea Intimacies Gallery.
A final note on the times we are living in:
How am doing during this challenging time of the Corona virus? For many years I have been a student of lingering in graditude as opposed to fear. And of course, some days I do better than others, but that is where I choose to be whenever possible. The first two weeks were the toughest. The far reaching implications and reality of it all filled my heart with fear and anxiety. I still feel twinges of that, but for the most part I have moved into staying in gratitude.
I try to be kind to myself and to others. I attempt to get something productive done each day. I stay informed the best that I can and make proavtive decisons each day the best that I know how. I am keenly aware that I am not alone in this. I am in it with my husband and the rest of my family. And I am in it with this town, this country and the rest of the world, including each and everyone of you. All of these things prevent me from experiencing a sense of isolation and loss of control that leads to fear.
(and walks, many walks!)
We will all get through this together! I have great faith in our country and in humanity in general!
I know that there are so many levels of stress depending on each individual’s circumstances. I hope that these images remind you that we have a beautiful world and that there is much to look forward to!
I send you all hugs, hope and love!!!!
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on how you are doing. Including one or two things that you might be grateful for. 🙂
With a grateful heart,
Love, love your perspective on life and photography Susan. Thank you for the breath of fresh air ❤️
Thank you, Anni! I enjoy following you and your work so much! You are such a sensitive and generous soul…YOUR kind words are a breath of fresh air to me!
Thanks so much Susan – will hold on to this and go back and reread it when I find myself dropping down into negativity or boredom over this current situation. I find myself longing for the Oregon High Desert and instead of bemoaning the fact that I cannot go right now I am spending time planning and anticipating my next visit. So grateful for all the images that I see posted – just whets my desire to get over there. I know there will be wonderful sunsets and sunrises ahead and grand views of that magical landscape.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on how you are staying hopeful by planning future, wonderful trips to beloved places. Things to look forward to are so important in keeping our spirits up under any circumstances but especially like the one we are experiencing now! You have such a kind spirit!
Susan – as always, your words are inspirational to me personally and I’m sure to others who follow you. Viewing this grouping of photos takes me to a place of peace and serenity.
I am grateful for my lovely home and surroundings, where I enjoy being isolated during the best of times. I am grateful for the companionship of my dog who entices me to get out and take him for a walk, otherwise I would probably just be hunkering down and watching too much TV. I am grateful to be reconnecting by phone with my friends far and wide, as well as having ongoing conversations with my two children and my grandchildren. I appreciate having musical instruments, books, art dvd’s and an abundance of art supplies to keep me focused, entertained and – hopefully – productive. Trying out new recipes, cleaning out drawers and cupboards and planting veggie starts are tasks that are keeping me engaged.
Carol, you are absolutely inspirational! You are being so positive and keeping yourself busy with your artistic endeavors.Thank you for sharing those things that are keeping you occupied, stimulated, productive and hopeful. I feel your gratitude! And, I’m sure, like you, many folks are grateful for the companionship of pets that are keeping them active and comforted during these times! Thank you for responding, I really appreciate it and keep on doing what your doing!
Susan, I love your Sea Intimacies project. It’s such a cool idea. Looks like a great book idea as well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and beautiful gallery.
I appreciate that, Patricia! And yes, I’m working on a Sea Intimacies book! We have a lot of uninterrupted time right now at the motel. Thank you for being so supportive and kind. Means a lot, my friend.