The eye of the beholder…

Jo Felk, Self Portrait, Venice 1997

I am immersed in all things visual at the moment – as you will know from my earlier post, I am working on a book of my sister Jo Felk’s work.  Jo’s work was predominantly shot on film, as she was just starting to dabble in digital before she died.  I have really enjoyed  seeing the depth and play of light and dark in these images, that have been captured in a way that I still feel digital doesn’t quite provide.

In some ways I think digital has allowed us to (or appear to) be better photographers, providing us with that wonderful feature that lets you see the image immediately and discard what you don’t like and try again till its right (much cheaper too).

Still – after looking through Jo’s images – there is something in the eye of a master photographer that I still cannot quite obtain. To demonstrate this I thought I would share a few images taken by Jo and I on a trip we took to France and Italy in 1997.  I had just purchased a Canon Advantix type film camera (new back then) and Jo was working with a plethora of vintage Polaroid land cameras .  I was quite amused at what she was up to when she took her polaroids – Jo would check the print, discard it and keep the backing paper with the chemicals and, I later discovered, a negative.  I also decided that my pics were going to be almost as good as hers ’cause I was on the spot and decided to try and replicate what the master (sorry mistress) was up to by standing in the same position and pointing my camera in the same direction… hmmmm didnt quite work out that way …

My image of some nice old Venetian buildings

Jo's image of the same buildings © Joanne Felk

My pic of amazing Carnivale man

Jo's image of same guy © Joanne Felk

Cafe scene in Monaco (I really liked the cool guy on the left)

Jo's image of cafe scene (everyone looks interesting) © Joanne Felk

The images of Venice were taken during Carnivale, which is a crazy busy time, with people pouring in from all over to take part in the festivities and wear the most amazing masked costumes.  What I love about Jo’s images is the calmness of the moment – I know what was going on when she took these pics and yet she has captured these very still moments in time. As a dear friend wrote about Jo “…creating grace is to have it…” and I see her grace and genius in these images knowing how to frame and shoot a the best possible moment.   I will leave you with one of my favourite Venice shots by Jo…

Venice Bridges © Joanne Felk


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A blog about my life as a JenY...
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2 Responses to The eye of the beholder…

  1. donqvijote says:

    I couldn’t say it better myself (I’ve actually tried and failed lots)–there is something special in the eye of a great photographer.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your sister’s work; it’s not too little and not too much, just right and I think my eyes have misted over a little bit.


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