2012 in Retrospect

| January 7, 2013

I struggle with the concept of grouping my work in arbitrary time slices, but I always find value in self-examination and introspection and so, I suppose the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to look back and ponder. 2012 was a year of new creative directions for me. Beyond simply exploring new ground, I also realized that my thoughts on photography and art required a few course corrections. These are important enough to warrant a dedicated post in the near future. In the mean time, I decided to share a selection of memorable images from the past year. These are not necessarily distinctive in their aesthetic or technical aspects, but rather in the stories that brought them about.

In addition to being a photographer, I am also a writer. I work in both images and words. This is not to say that other media are not equally valid or interesting to me, but that these are the tools I work in because I feel that they best fit what I want to share with the world. In other words, these are, to me, the best means of telling the kind of stories I want to tell.

Stories can be factual, or they can be fiction; they can be clever observations or lengthy sagas; they can be in the form of essays, poems, proverbs, or novels. They may describe a moment in time, or they can unfold over years or decades or more. Some are best told in books, some in images or song or dance. The stories I want to tell in my work are neither poems nor novels. They are not entirely fiction, nor entirely fact. My stories are personal journals. They are intimate impressions of memorable times and meaningful experiences in my own life. Journals are based on real events, but at the same time are personal and subjective. They are both factual and interpretive. They are told in first person. They are not meant to provide an objective representation, but the subjective aspects of an experience that the author found most interesting or profound.

More explicitly: even though my stories and image may be true representations of actual events, they are not meant to portray them in an objective way. They are as much a glimpse into the subjects as they are into the person who created them. This is why I believe that photography is especially suitable for journals. A photograph can be both factual and subjective. Unlike painting, where the blank canvas allows an artist to weave entirely manufactured tales, photography comes with a belief and an expectation of the work being founded in reality, to an extent that is not possible in other media. This is both a great strength, but also a great handicap of the medium.

This past year I continued my explorations of my home. In particular, the Volcanic Plateau and the Badlands. A selection of my Badlands images was published in LensWork Magazine – a publication I long admired and was proud to be featured in. I also spent considerably more time further exploring black and white photography, manifesting in my Creative B&W Processing Techniques eBook, published earlier in the year to very favorable reviews, as well as new B&W portfolios.

All in all, 2012 was a very good year, creatively speaking, for which I am very grateful. It also set the stage for further explorations ahead.

Escape Lay of the Land Mystery Mountain

Metate and Mano A Moment of Bliss Monsoon Virga

Signs of Life Silent Flames Desolate Perch


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Category: All Posts, Featured, Journal

About the Author ()

Guy Tal is a published author and photographic artist. He resides in a remote part of Utah, in a high desert region known as the Colorado Plateau – a place that inspired him deeply for much of his life and that continues to feature in his images and writing. In his photographic work, Guy seeks to articulate a reverence for the wild. He writes about, and teaches, the values of living a creative life and finding fulfillment through one’s art.

Comments (13)

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  1. I have found much inspiration in your words and images this year and others Guy. These photographs carry on your unique vision very well. I take back what I said about you sticking with color because you are great at it. You are also great at Black and White, as we are now seeing. My favorites are Escape, Signs of Life and Desolate Perch with honorable mention to Mystery Mountain, but if I keep going I’ll name all of them as favorites.

  2. Thanks Guy! Thanks for telling your stories and inspiring us to tell our own.

  3. Jesus Sousa says:

    It’s always great to review your latest images, you truly hit a chord within my
    interpretation of how I should see my images when I set up to shoot. Have a
    great 2013 Guy and all the best on your adventures.

  4. Guy, thanks for sharing these. Your writing is always passionate, poignant and of course personal; which of course makes it genuine. Your images are always inspiring and have influenced my own. With that, “Silet Frames” is my favorite for no other reason than it suits my eye. Beautiful. Also a diverse collection from the intimate and abstract, to the grand view.

    Words and Images, you have a way with both and together make a great pairing.


  5. Dan Baumbach says:

    It might be easier to say which images I like less, because there are so many beautiful and powerful ones here.

    As a former b&w photographer and printer, I particularly like Escape. I love those tonalities in the center of the image. Beautiful image and print.

    Then in no particular order, Mystery Mountain, Moment of Bliss, Monsoon Virga and Silent Flames.

    There are many photographer’s whom I love and admire, but I’ve never been jealous of there work. Maybe because I know that their work is their expression and my work is mine. However, I’m definitely jealous of your ability to express yourself with words.

  6. Marty Knapp says:

    Dear Guy,

    Thanks for your honest reflections, journal entries as you call them. Your blog is one of only three that I read regularly. Each blog deals with the personal journey of the photographer as opposed to chattering about equipment. Your words inspire and cause reflection, which is exactly what I need more of.

    Escape took my breath away. The title expresses the feeling I get when I look down that corridor toward the light. The photo is soooooo dimensional… just stunning. So thanks for making that one and showing here!


  7. These are all gorgeous Guy. Your images always evoke such a strong emotional response within me, and these do so even more than usual. My favorites are Escape, Lay of the Land, and Desolate Perch.

  8. Greg Russell says:

    Lovely images, Guy. I hope that our trails cross again in 2013.

  9. Jack Larson says:

    More important to me than the specific photographs is what they represent, the shifts in your journey as a photographer. Looking at your work over the past few years, these seem to come from a place deeper inside of you. For some reason, Mystery Mountain is far and away my favorite (that probably says much more about me than you).

  10. Mike Putnam says:

    Your images are beautiful and evocative, as always. it appears that 2012 was a productive an formative year for you. Congrats on that. Keep capturing and creating beautiful images.