observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Six Questions

When I have time, I pop by Shutter Sisters to read an entry or two and one of my favourite things they do is their Six Questions. On an intermittent basis, they invite a photographer to answer six stock questions. I love reading the responses. A few months ago some of my readers said they appreciate when I share some of my personal thoughts or insights, even though the main intent of this photo journal (aka blog) is for business purposes. Since I will never be asked to be a guest at Shutter Sisters, I thought I’d borrow their questions from my favourite segment and answer them here, for the fun of it.


1. What’s the story behind this photo?

If I gave the whole story it would be very long. Part of the appeal for selecting this one is because it’s a simple snapshot taken with a point and shoot camera — nothing fancy. This hoe once belonged to my mother-in-law. She loved gardening. I love gardening and gardening is what my mother lived for. I don’t have the same shine for gardening since my mom died. This is more symbolic. It’s that rusty hoe, not being used much anymore, not even being well kept (thus the rust and being left out over winter). There’s a relationship between the hoe, the rust, the gardening, and the mothers. Besides it’s such a lovely simple image.

2. What was it that lit your photography spark? Do you remember a particular camera, course, person, roll of film?

You know, ever since I was a little girl and we had one of those Brownie box cameras I have been in love with the feel of a camera, peeking through the viewfinder to compose something memorable, and then admiring the resulting images. What a feeling it was then and is now. Sure the equipment has changed, there is more craft involved, but the exhilaration still exists.

3. What’s your photo philosophy? Does it reflect your life philosophy?

Life’s sweet ordinary is my philosophy. What I mean by this is I love the special sweetness of the everyday things in life and the deliciousness of the simple things. That’s because I don’t like things that are contrived; there is so much beauty in individual people and in nature so why try making things as they are not? I use natural light whenever possible but won’t restrict myself either.  I love spontaneity especially in a photo shoot — I love to capture things as they really happen. I guess my life philosophy is much the same since I respect the earth and want it left as it should be and I really do appreciate the simple things in life.

4. Where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere! Because I live surrounded by nature, that’s a big part of my inspiration. But there is so much more. People inspire me, light inspires me especially that late afternoon glow, and buildings — I love architecture as much as I love the curves on stone that has been weathered over eons and eons.

5. What aspect of your photography are you constantly working on, trying to improve?

I do this in stages. I set goals for myself, intended to stretch my capabilities. I work on a particular goal until I’ve achieved the level I’m satisfied with and then I create a new goal to aspire to. It’s a continual learning curve. My current goal in 2010 is to learn more about and become quite adept at using off camera flash.

6. If you could go anywhere in the world for an epic, weeklong photo excursion all by your luxuriously unhurried self – regardless of money, time or childcare issues – where would you go and why?

Ha! I don’t have to worry about childcare issues anymore just who the heck will take care of our dogs so we can get away somewhere!! Peru, I think, but off the beaten path. I’d want to get lots of photos of the people, especially those not living in the capital; take a train trip; visit some of their adobe churches; ride a Peruvian Paso, capturing all of that and their culture in print.


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Farmergal - January 30, 2010 - 5:44 pm

It’s people like you that keep this world on an even keel. May your life always be filled beautiful photo ops. Keep sharing.

Toni - January 31, 2010 - 1:14 am

Lovely photo, Diane. Always good to learn a little more about you! =)

Marcie - January 31, 2010 - 5:06 am

What a wonderful way for us to ‘get to know you’ better. Love the image – it’s perfect simplicty and ‘ordinary-ness’. And – you’ll let us know when you’ll be posting at SS – yes?!?!

Gayle - February 1, 2010 - 1:03 pm

This is great, Diane! I especially love your answer on number one.

petra - February 1, 2010 - 5:52 pm

lovely post

Christine Edwards - February 2, 2010 - 9:14 am

I’ve always liked your tagline of Life’s Sweet Ordinary, because beauty can be found just about anywhere. And I really think it sums up your style of making the simple look superb.

Shelli - February 7, 2010 - 9:25 pm

I’m glad you did this. I enjoyed reading and getting to know you more. By coincidence I just posted a photo of a garden tool left out in winter too.