Sunday, February 24, 2008

My California

Although I am now a resident of Montana I was born and raised in California. The California I grew up in was much different than the one you see today. Much of it was rural, agricultural and a very real part of the Old West.

My great grandfather, Austin Denny Barnard, came to San Buena Ventura in the mid-eighteen hundreds and my grandfather, Charles Ventura Barnard was born there in 1869. Ventura County is where I grew up on a citrus & avocado ranch. Ironically, I am only third generation even though the first generation was born there nearly 140 years ago.

When I was a little girl, everyday after school, I would run to the barn, saddle up my horse and ride away. I loved to pretend I was Annie Oakley. I would go into the hills and pretend to track rustlers. I was really tracking cowboys herding cattle.

Fields and orchards were never fenced. I was welcome to ride across any neighbor’s property. We treated each other’s property with respect in those days. Oh, yes, we misbehaved now and again. But, it was usually things like swiping a watermelon out of a neighbor’s patch. Course, nobody really cared but if you got caught you got in big trouble just the same. It was the principle of the thing.

Those fields and orchards I used to race across on my horse are no longer. Clapboard houses crammed together like sardines in a tin now cover that beautiful, fertile land. Also gone are the trust, respect and consideration people once had for each other. Just too many people competing for too little space I reckon.

I have often been asked if I miss California and I quite honestly answered no, not really. And, it seemed to me I really didn’t miss anything about California the way it is today. But, I was wrong. I recently visited California and I realized there is something and it is the rolling hills and majestic oaks. The California oaks are the most beautiful trees in the world in my opinion. Somehow I had forgotten what an impact they have on me. There aren’t as many as there once were but where they still exist they reign supreme.

I shall soon be returning to my beloved Montana mountains but I will never again forget what I will always love about California.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Monday, February 18, 2008

Painting With A Camera

In the scheme of things what I am trying to accomplish with my camera is to create photographs that more closely resemble paintings, at least in my minds eye.

Since I was a kid I wanted to be an artist. I simply adore color and design. But, try as I might I simply had no talent with paintbrush or pencil. Then, some thirty five years ago, I was introduced to the camera at college where I took several courses. There was no looking back. I had found my Muse.

I was back at my alma mater, Cal Poly, this past week as a guest speaker. There have been many changes after all this time but the most endearing change was that photography, which was in the Journalism Department, is now where it belongs in the Art Department.

So, I think it was only fitting that I should be able to shoot what I think is a classic example of what I mean by "camera painting". I captured the above image at Morro Bay harbor. It is of kayaks reflecting in the water. To me it looks more like a painting than a photograph.

Of course, with Photoshop or other digital manipulation software you can create just about anything you want. In my work, I choose to except the challenge of doing it without "manipulation". Oh, yes, I do tinker sometimes but no more than you would or could in a traditional darkroom. My choice is in no way meant to be judgmental of other ways of doing things. I've seen some very beautiful creations using digital manipulation. It's simply my way.

This then is my painting Kayak Fantasy

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Creativity & The Road

One of the many things I get a big kick out of, while traveling, are the myriad of creative works one can observe right along the road. The signs and displays people dream up are just amazing.

This particular photograph was taken on the road between Morro Bay and Atascadero, California. I simply had to stop and make a picture of it. It was so colorful and clever. It made me laugh.

It also got me to ponder the very idea of creativity. It seems to me that creativity is a compulsion and basic to the human condition. It begins with the most fundamental drive, to procreate, but seems to extend so much further into our psyche. We are creative creatures.

What drives the driver? I think it's the need to communicate and connect. I certainly know that I am trying to connect and communicate with the viewers of my photographs. I would like people to feel some sense of wonder or amazement. I would like them to feel what I feel, a sense of "Wow"! See The Fine Art of Photography
The irony of creativity is that it can be applied to both good an evil. It took a lot of creativity and imagination to pull off 911 and was certainly one hell of a communication.

Well, this post is a toast to my fellow Americans who constructively fulfill their creative drives along the highways and byways of this great land. You sure make my day. Thank you very much!!!

©Kinsey Barnard Photography