Captain America. Doctor Strange. Rogue One. Finding Dory. Working on just one of the aforementioned films might be enough to encourage one to stay in the movie industry. But if you have a strong sense of direction and an ounce or two of daring, you might try to chase a more challenging dream.
Meet Devon Kelley. A San Francisco based photographer who is doing exactly that. Devon has spent the last several years of her life working on films, after going to film school, but has recently made a return to her first love: photography. She cites the freedom of not having to worry about a crew, actors, or a budget as an alluring draw. Only outweighed by the opportunity that photography affords her to be an observer of the world. And observer is the key word here; in a world where there is no shortage of tools and methods available to create, the artist that tends to stand out is also the one most adept at listening.
So Devon listens. And creates with the idea that photography allows for a journey. "While a motion picture can be an incredibly powerful medium in the complex way that stories can be told, photography has a starkness and mystery that motion picture lacks. A still image can have a powerful and unwavering presence that stimulates curiosity and emotion."
A fine art photograph will mean different things to different people, along with the stories that inadvertently get told as any number of people share a moment taking in that photograph. Multiple story lines form. Multiple stories get told. Maybe the old adage a photograph is worth a thousands words should really be changed to a thousand stories.
It is therefore surprising, in a world where new is often encouraged especially for photography and motion picture, that Devon doesn't strive for new to capture the imagination. Rather she strives for the reexamined: to shake the viewer from a comfortable perception and understanding to illuminate something they may not have seen before. "I’m extremely picky about the weather, time of day, light, and color when I shoot. I always know the visual emotion behind what I want to create, but I never know what I am going to find when I shoot and I enjoy that a little bit is left to chance. I strive to portray common subject matter with an unusual and unexpected tone."
And that can make for a subtle push to the message that Devon is trying to bring into focus with her work.
"A consistent theme through my work is the fluctuating balance of power and vulnerability, specifically focused on the power of the earth and the power of human creation. My work reflects a cyclical and polar relationship between the two. The human-made world relies on power and resources from the earth, yet the earth is vulnerable to destruction by humanity."
It is almost as if Mother Nature herself is behind Devon's mission. All of her nature photos (including the ones below) happened by luck or by, perhaps, the gentle hand of Mother Nature. From a mother bison nursing her offspring during the crisp hours of the morning to a coyote pup galloping along through the grass after siblings. These shots are not without a clear dedication to her craft.
For her most recent nature series, Devon has been dedicating free time here and there to travel across the American West. In the process she has braved the elements of the changing seasons by camping where ever she needs to make her work captivate with fine art quality.
"Fine art photography is more than aesthetic beauty; it's carefully selecting what to include or exclude from your frame and why, it's knowing why you're selecting one image instead of another, it's having a vision and a purpose behind everything you shoot and having a clear thought process behind editing or manipulating an image."
When the stars do align and the countless hours finally pay off, the viewer will get lost in the frame to start a journey of their own. And that is the dream, worth all the challenge Devon meets.
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