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The Philosophy of Photography | A Day at Boot Camp with Falcon


by Brenda K. Hipsher – January 5th, 2011

by Brenda K. Hipsher

In late summer of 2010 I had an opportunity to visit a member of our Coloratti in Greensboro, NC.  Falcon is a photographer and visual artist who is the inspiration behind NyghtFalcon. He had invited me down to experience his signature seminar that he calls “Boot Camp.” I’m always game for any kind of seminar, workshop, or opportunity to learn so I eagerly accepted the offer.  I didn’t know then that I was in for one of the most interesting and unusual experiences ever.

We met early on a Tuesday morning at a coffee shop in Friendly Center in Greensboro for a lovely time to meet his staff and associates from the NyghtFalcon organization.  At some point Falcon said, “Time to go!” and we all got into cars and headed to “the cemetery.”  I assumed this was what they called their studio where we would have the seminar for the day. But to my surprise we actually pulled into a cemetery. It was a warm day in Greensboro.  We parked the cars and gathered near a large monument.  Falcon began his instruction by speaking about the need to become aware of what is really in a scene before we decide what we will isolate to record a photograph.

While quoting great philosophers and poets Falcon led us through exercises that helped us see things that we might otherwise pass over or discount. One exercise in particular remains with me.  We stood before a large family monument in the cemetery.  The plot was raised and circular with many different family members buried there in the same vicinity.  Our task was to slowly walk around the perimeter of the plot and simply notice and remember everything we could.  When we talked about our experiences it was clear that each of us had noticed lots of things we might otherwise never have noticed and that those particular things were often very different.

I began to get the “picture”… everyone sees differently even when we’re attempting to record every detail.  Our eyes see the same or similar things, but our experiences, our social location, our age, even our mood can dramatically affect how we respond to what we see and therefore how we interpret the world around us.

Later that day we sat down and enjoyed viewing printed portfolios of the collaborative work of NyghtFalcon. From traditional wedding, portrait, and architecture to textured overlays and composite images, Falcon’s artistic vision informs everything that NyghtFalcon produces.  Here’s what the NyghtFalcon website says about the artistic vision of the company. “The formula for a successful photography is simple: Technology + Artistic Vision + Emotional Impact. Artistic vision – the ability to see the world again for the first time – cannot be taught. There are many things about photography that can be taught – how to set an F-stop, how to compensate for low light or environmental conditions….. But not vision. It can be nurtured. It can be developed. But it cannot be learned.” Inherent in this statement is the essence of my experience with Falcon’s Boot Camp.  We all have a vision that is unique to each individual. Developing that vision and putting it to work in our art is the real task of creativity.  Seeing the world again for the first time can really become a way of life and, in the process, breathe new creative life into the art of photography.

We’ve included a short video clip of Falcon speaking at an earlier “Boot Camp” seminar last year.  Enjoy it and visit www.nyghtfalcon.com and follow NyghtFalcon on Facebook.

All photos in this post are ©2010 NyghtFalcon and may not be used without permission.

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