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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2006-10-05

Preaching to the Choir: Feeling Photosynthesis
By Paul Myers, Brooks Institute of Photography

Photo by Paul Myers

Photo by Paul Myers
In the forward to Photosynthesis: A simple guide to the magic of photography (By Bryan Moss, 2006), Mary Jo Moss writes that the author's words and photographs, his work shared with us, is that of the lovingness of a gentle man. Reading this it would be easy to misinterpret the profundity of her words and imagine that the book you were about to read is a cool drink of water for the soul. And so it seems at first glance as there are no pictures of despair, destruction, social ills or war and the words are spoken in the quiet and dedicated voice of a patient journeyman storyteller. No, this is not the case as this book takes us for a walk down a burning path towards the possibility of enlightenment living a photographic life.

You could say this is a book about legacy. Bryan Moss's legacy as a husband, father, grandfather, son, citizen of Southern Indiana, an editor and a photojournalist. A legacy visible by the torchlight of the photographic predecessors he carries forward as well as through his pictures and those of his protégées in our community of photojournalism and the continuum of its history.

Of legacy I would tell you that which has been passed down to me by my teachers and of these teachers themselves. My teachers have brought me into the warmth of their experience and shared with me the wealth of possibilities that a documentary photographer, a human being, is presented while traveling down this path. Whether teachers of photography who from the first were the strongest influences in my life or teachers of language, passion, love and solitude... these teachers make me all that I am and all that I am capable of being. They showed me how to tie my shoes before I knew I had feet. They bathed me before I knew I was dirty. They gave me eyes to fly before I knew of these soaring heights. They presented me with miracles and I laughed aloud when I saw them everywhere, in everything, in everyone, even in me. They gave me love and I wasted it away. They gave me truth. Please, take it from me.

Photo by Paul Myers

Photo by Paul Myers
He showed me this.
This swelling heartthrob undeniable.
Tears burn.

Howls bellows from the hollows of scared wounds.

Love.

Laughing and confused,
unable to go further.

There was no further
down the path that was never there.
There never was.

Only love.

Photosynthesis is a lover's howl, no matter how quietly and patiently Moss would have us receive his song. He is madly in love with humanity and shares this vision, this gift, with all who enter these pages. What other way is there to be a photojournalist in this world, anyway?

Photography is an act of human grace that when infused with love ranks among the miracles of humanity. Moss guides us to this simple grace through photographs and words. Each selected and presented to remind us of that creative fire bright within all who dare to see. With a deafening whisper he shows that by leaving yourself behind you find yourself in everyone and encounter true peace with humanity. Yes, this is one of the possibilities of photography, imagine.

With this same steady calm Moss cautions us of the wilderness of distractions in life that comfort us in our mediocrity. Especially insidious are those distractions of the chase: chasing the exception, the peak moment or the unique subject. After stoking this fire of self-evaluation Moss quenches us with an apt metaphor for humanity that he refers to as "On the banks." These banks are those shores of everyday life where possibilities are lush; indeed, each possibility a photographic revelation into the why of humanity. Please, come and sit here on the banks, if only to sit down and breathe. 10 seconds will do, just breath. Feel the rush of humanity's stories flowing through you towards the majesty of everyday experience. Breathing reminds us of our interconnectedness with all those who surround us, in those who we seek solace, with those who we share a rare air, through whom we attain our own inner peace.

It is in this gorgeous and solemn light that Moss gives us the possibility that a photograph is a revelation about humanity when the photographer howls in love.


(Paul Myers is a faculty member of the Visual Journalism Program at Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, CA. Prior to his arrival at Brooks, Myers worked for a variety of publications including newspapers in Freeport, IL and Marysville, CA.)

Related Links:
Paul's member page
Book: PhotoSynthesis

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