Christopher J. May
I have been fascinated with the power of the still photograph from the moment I picked up my first camera at the age of 9. Being able to capture the essence of a person, place or thing in a single moment and then share that moment with others has always been gratifying. I am also intrigued at the ability of a photographer to impart his or her vision on a scene. While the photograph has always been held as a representation of reality since the inception of the medium, the truth is that every photographer brings a different vision to his or her work.
It’s easy to see the infusion of individuality in the works of the great photographers. I have long admired David Plowden’s ability to evoke emotion through his photography. The wistfulness he feels towards his disappearing subjects — lake boats, steam locomotives, small town America, etc. — is evident in every photograph he presents. To look at a Plowden print is to feel what he felt when he pressed the shutter button.
When I present a print, I am communicating the sense of awe and wonderment I feel towards the subjects I’m photographing in the language that gives me the most depth and nuance. Landscapes, buildings, people and animals all stir a sense of amazement within me that I am incapable of expressing in words. My camera allows me to share this base admiration for the complexity and the beauty of the world that we live in.
I am also drawn to ties to the past. When I photograph a grain elevator, it is more than just looking at the graceful lines of its utilitarian construction. I am also thinking about the dedication of the generations of farmers who have toiled to feed a hungry nation. I am grateful for their efforts and that gratitude only fortifies my sense of awe at these beautiful structures and what they represent.
My photography is my vehicle for telling the stories of who we are, where we come from and how we relate to the world around us.