Passing Through O'Hare




Fence Blur


Hose and Peelings


Don't Walk


Shadow and Bar


Tai Chi




Shack and Ball

Every image embodies
a way of seeing.

           —John Berger
                   Ways of Seeing

The first thing you need to know is that I'm a photographer with lousy vision. I was born very nearsighted, only partially correctable— as in "Don't let me drive your car." Whether it be through ignorance, stubbornness or over-compensation, I guess you could say I've "blindly" refused to face the facts.

     As a kid, I may have been attracted to photography because it could extend my vision—bring things closer so I could see the details. But then I discovered I could use it to see things people with good vision couldn't. Now that was satisfying!

     Turns out the truth is, when it comes to photography, how well you see has only a little to do with how well you "see." For me, it's more about the other kind of "vision." It's about light, composition, form, simplicity. It's about capturing and conveying those elusive moments that tell little stories—or suggest an essence, a mood, a message or a mystery.

     While I do enjoy shooting abstracts and strong, simple graphics, I think my best images have some kind of twist—they're a bit ambiguous or pose questions, leaving room for the viewer to join in. The photographs shown here are all examples.

     Most of my work is spontaneous and unplanned. I put myself in an interesting place. and I let the light and my eye lead me to a subject. It almost doesn't matter what subject. Then the fun begins. Shooting handheld, I get this energizing, kid-like curiosity going—kind of a high—that helps me see things in new and sometimes odd ways. I look closer, ask what if?, crawl on my belly, jiggle the camera. It's way too much fun and should probably be illegal.

     I'm almost embarrassingly low-tech when it comes to my gear and film stock. I shoot regular, old Kodak or Fuji negative, and work with an ancient, beat up, manual Minolta SRT 101 from the early 70's with three basic lenses—a 28mm, a 55mm and a 135mm. Throw in a couple polarizing filters and the occasional close up lens, and that's the rig. It's not that I don't like the toys. It's just I've learned that most good photography has little to do with equipment or film stock.

     I've been shooting stills since I got that first Brownie Hawkeye as a kid, and although I've taken a few classes over the years, I've mostly learned by doing, viewing, and frankly, screwing up. I can't really point to any specific influences—other than my close photographer friend, Stephen Kopels, who, years ago, helped me "see the light."

     Now, after 40 years of shooting, mostly for my own enjoyment, I've recently come out of the closet—photographically speaking. My web site at http://www.abproductions.com and this exhibit space at Pomegranates is a beginning. While I've had a few local shows over the years, in the future, I hope to exhibit much more—both on the web and in galleries— and to explore the possibilities of digital photography.

     Meanwhile I plan to continue letting my camera and my lousy eyesight lead me to new ways of seeing the world. Hopefully, my photographs will help viewers remember what lives just beyond our daily "nearsightedness."
                      — Alan Babbitt


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