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Photo by Angela Hook, www.angelahook.com
Angela Hook : A New Look at Photography

A New Look at Photography

By Angela Hook

Photos make people appreciate the things their naked eyes see every day.

When someone recently told me that, I began to see my photography in a new way.

For many years, a camera has been merely a tool that I have used to collect reference or record memories. Lately, I have been visually documenting my own personal love affair with horses. Observing these amazing, beautiful creatures in their natural environment is one of life's greatest pleasures for me. No posing. No portraits. Just bits and pieces of what makes a horse a horse. That's what I like to capture. 'Glimpses' of their magical world and how it crosses over into ours.

Publicly sharing these images in an art gallery setting was not something I ever intended on. However, the opportunity arose to include my photos along with my equine wire sculptures in a solo exhibit at our community gallery. I was nervous… well, terrified actually! Would anyone else 'get it'? Would people wonder why the whole horse wasn't in the picture? Maybe things that amaze me are just boring to other people? I was distraught with self-doubt.

During the opening reception of that show, a fellow equestrienne commented that my way of seeing things had made her really appreciate her own horse. She noted that, as a horse owner, even if you see your horse every day we sometimes forget to stop and acknowledge the simple pleasures these animals bring to our lives. It's the things that are right there in front of us, like the softness of their muzzle or the amazing structure of the hoof that supports all that weight.

I realized that the images I captured were no longer simply documentation. They held the power to communicate. Without any verbal explanation, viewers were able to sense my admiration, respect, amusement, and awe. These 'glimpses' seen from my perspective encouraged people to look around them with new eyes tomorrow.

Slipping behind the lens of a camera allows you to become a storyteller. The subject matter can be anything really! How you present it makes the difference. How you see something is what makes it unique.

Try walking around your own house while looking through a camera eyepiece. Do not take the camera away from your face… act as if it is the only way you can see and navigate through your otherwise familiar world. It will help you become 'visually prepared' to notice patterns, shapes and shadows like never before. You will see things with new eyes.

The next time I head out into the pasture with my camera, I will see the purpose of my photos with new eyes too. I have come to appreciate that my photography is not a purely selfish endeavor. It is yet another way to share my creative vision with the world. •

© 2008 Angela Hook. All rights reserved.

Angela Hook Angela Hook is a Canadian wire artist. Her love of horses is elegantly expressed in the fluid linear sculptures she creates using a single continuous strand of wire. More »

9/4/08