Claire Yaffa: Thoughts of Photographers for Philosophers and Dreamers, Chapter 19

Claire Yaffa took her first photograph 45 years ago when her son was 18 months old and it was the beginning of her journey, first as a mother, then as a photographer. She has worked extensively for The New York Times and Associated Press. Her photographs have appeared in countless influential publications and have been exhibited at major venues in the US and around the world.

Leica Notebook – Chapter 19

Edward Steichen once wrote of photography, “I believe it is potentially the best medium for explaining man to himself and to his fellow man.” Thoughts of photographers apply not just to photography. Paul Strand said, “photography moves toward the common goal, which is life.”

Steiglitz exclaims, “my teachers have been life — work — continuous experiment.” Kertesz said, “Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph.” Henri Cartier-Bresson said “To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath … It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.”

At a beautiful lake at water’s edge, a few days ago, I was moved to photograph what I saw and what I felt. Unexpectedly, it began a compelling series for me which I titled “Waterscapes” in my mind. As I watched the water flow in different directions, the wild life underneath the surface, the changing light, it transported me to who I am, my changing life, the life of others and the transient nature of our place here in the world.  It was an affirmation, the yes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the yes of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”  As I watched the water flow back and forth, hypnotized by what I was seeing, objects lost shapes and light and shadows disturbed the reality. I did leave the world of photography for awhile.  However, it enabled me to feel more than I saw.

- Claire Yaffa

You can also see more of Claire’s work on her website, www.claireyaffa.com.