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A Voyage of Discovery Behind the Scenes of an Impressionist's Life

How Personal Photography Projects Can Make You a Better Photographer
Impressionist vision of a beach

I never considered starting up a project. Creating a portfolio ­ yes, but a project with its long­term commitment always appeared to me more as a burden, rather than an exciting and interesting exercise. Two things helped me to change my mind. In 2008 I discovered Alan Briot's essays. I was fascinated by his approach to art and photography. He inspired me to do something more with my own work, and an idea of a project started to emerge. I was ready. The only thing I was missing was a subject. I thought long and hard for quite some time and then, one winter afternoon, I took my dog Chucky for a walk ­ and unexpectedly found what I was looking for...

"Nothing is ever the same twice because everything is always gone forever, and yet each moment has infinite photographic possibilities"-- Michael Kenna

It was one of Auckland's stormy winter days when, for the first time, I noticed how beautiful my local beach was. I'd never actually liked this place, a polluted, empty inner city bay where nothing ever happened. But that day something had happened. Something unexpected and wonderful. Something that change my perception of the world around me.

Light was presenting a spectacular show with all its magical tricks. The sky was a main actor with the sea's surface mirroring its every nuance. The drama quickly unfolded in front of me.

At first puffy cumulus clouds obscured most of the sky's bright blue, then it suddenly become darker and grim. Then lightning penetrated the heavens and clouds burst into tears. In a final act the light broke through the dark clouds to suffuse the landscape with its raw energy and transform itself into a rainbow. Nature was resting in silence, gatherings all its energy to do it again.

I was ready too. I had to come back for more. I let the light guide me on my journey through subtle and dramatic changes of the endlessly shifty rhythms of the sea.

I experienced the freshness of morning, the heavy atmosphere and dazzling rays of midday sun; the burning horizon of sunset and the calm of night with its soft, silvery moonlight.

Every time my camera recorded something new and exiting. Layer by layer this humble bay unveiled its beauty, welcoming my every visit and inviting me again with a promise to show me more.

After a year of photographing Wattle Bay near my home, Michael Kenna's words have more meaning for me than ever before.

I took thousands of pictures, but none of them looked alike. I witnessed dramatic changes and very subtle shifts of light. I could notice and appreciate them only by recording them with my camera.

After all, the challenge and beauty of photography lies in its infinite possibilities.

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