My Other Art

November 27, 2007

When I’m not writing, or doing something having to do with my duties as Dad, husband, or stay-at-home guy, chances are I’m taking pictures or working with my digital images on my computer.  I’ve been interested in photography since I was a teenager, but I got away from it for a while.  I was in grad school, and then I was starting my writing career, and then Nancy and I were starting a family.  Suffice it to say, I didn’t exactly have a lot of spare time. 

But about four years ago, I started getting back into it again.  I started with film — slides actually, because slide film tended to deliver the best color — but shifted to digital when we went to Australia.  The last thing I wanted was to have to transport back a year’s worth of slides when our stay there was over.

Over the course of these past few years, I’ve gotten very serious about my photography and I’ve learned a tremendous amount not only about the technical side of the craft, but also about composition, about how to see the world with a photographer’s eye.  And last night, in a very small way, all the work I’ve put into this passion of mine paid off.  I am now officially an exhibited photographer.  I have two pieces hanging in a small gallery here in town.  As I say, it’s a small step, but I have to admit that seeing those two photos hanging on the gallery wall was a bit like seeing my first book in print.

My older brother, James Coe, is a professional artist (www.jamescoe.com).  He’s been drawing or painting for just about as long as I can remember, and he’s incredibly talented.  I always envied his artistic ability; I’ve been writing stories since I was in first grade, and I’ve been playing music for years, though not in any serious way.  But though I always wanted to create visual art, I was never able to draw or paint or sculpt. 

With photography, I finally have that outlet for the visual side of my creative impulses.  It turns out that, for me at least, photography and writing are not so different.  Both demand that I look at the world in unconventional ways, that I capture details others might miss, that I make sense of images and use them to tell a story.  (For the record, though, photographers get to play with much better toys than writers do….)  

One of the things I’d like to do as I continue to improve both my crafts is find some way to merge them.  I don’t know yet exactly how I’d do it, but it’s something I intend to try at some point.  In the meantime, I’ll write my books and continue to steal a few days here and there to take photos.  

Today’s music:  Russ Barenberg (When At Last)

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