Surprised by Beauty
A Photographic Collection
By Carol Koterski Dugan
“In every picture, there are two people, the viewer and the photographer.” Ansel Adams
My daughter quoted this to me, as I was beginning my adventure with photography, at the age of 55. In the fall of 2003, with no formal training, I began taking pictures of beautiful scenes in New Jersey, where we lived. I wanted to share that beauty with my daughter, who was away at college. So, at the beginning, my photography was simply an attempt to capture beauty and communicate it to my daughter.
As I advanced from one-time-use cameras to digital, I was the fortunate recipient of knowledge and support from generous people who knew much more than I did about photography and art. That generous sharing of knowledge continues to this day.
In my photography I aim to accurately communicate the image I see. Cameras, however advanced, are only machines, and do not perfectly capture the image seen by the eye and by the heart. So, when I develop a picture, I try to remember and produce, as accurately as I can, the image that drew my attention. It is my hope that this accurate representation allow the viewer a significant experience with the image, an experience different from mine, but a significant and unique experience nonetheless.
When I was on vacation, I spent three to four hours each day, looking for beauty, looking for a picture, entranced in the moment. Do we tend to see ‘more’ on vacation, because we look with greater care and expectation?
The purpose of my work is to highlight the beauty accessible to all of us. “It’s not about new landscapes, it’s about new eyes.” I carry a camera with me. I do not know when beauty will present itself, or when I will recognize it. I cannot take a ‘memorable picture’ on command. At time, I have walked in Hawaii and have not been able to ‘see’ anything to photograph. And, at times, on my very doorstep, I have seen a ‘picture’ everywhere I look. One may call this ability to see, creative energy. I call it a gift from God.
As my work has progressed, my array of subjects has come to include landscapes, flowers, people, animals, water abstraction, etc. With the addition of new subjects, comes new learning and new challenge.
More of Carol Koterski Dugan’s work may be seen here: Flickr.com