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Why do we need more whale photos? And why do I even try?
More than 500 million photos are uploaded and shared online every day on average. Some big chunk of those MUST be of water and water animals.
No one would argue that Brian Skerry and Bob Talbot's photos of whales and dolphins blow mine away.
Theirs are in another league altogether.
And I had Talbot posters (that one above, in fact) on my walls as a kid and Skerry's National Geographic images (that one below) are on my current desktop (and coffeetable).
My "whale photos" are typically of the ripple in the water where the whale once was, or of a small grey blob in the distance, the tip of a fluke, a submerging dorsal fin.
If I get bored of Bob and Brian's stuff there's always flickr and Facebook, Getty Images, Marine Photo Bank. Just Google "whale photos" and kick back and scroll...whales, whales, whales and more whales. The first 10,000 images best mine, hands down.
I think it has a lot to do with novelty, nostalgia, and personal satisfaction. My photos--as lame as they may be in comparison to the pros--are MINE. I was there. They remind me of the special combination of sights, smells, sounds, weather, circumstances and human company. Whether the whale is actually in the frame or not, my whale photos are the best--to me. The whales I saw didn't really look like the one's you, Brian, or Bob saw. The pro photos are stunning, but they lack those extra dimensions which depend entirely on my personal experiences on the water. My memories, my emotions...which when combined make my nostalgia. Something another person's memories and emotions have a hard time doing.
I'm reminded of a visit last week during the European leg of 100 Days of Blue to the Louvre Museum in Paris. A mob of people stood in front of the Mona Lisa, Da Vinci's masterpiece. Half of the people or more held iPhones, iPads, and cameras of all sorts in the air in front of their faces to capture a digital image of one of the most famous, most reproduced, and most recognizable images of all time. The giftshops held even more of Mona Lisa's facial images on everything from mugs to books to tshirts to kitchen magnets. The internet is full of millions more samples, just like the whales. So, I made an image of people making images of the iconic image.
But be sure you also see, smell, hear, taste, and feel where you are too. Go deeper than your camera. Otherwise you may as well be looking at a screen or a coffeetable book.
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