Inspiring Black and White Photography: Henry Wessel

Photographers that Inspire Me

Henry Wessel

“The world is filled with incredible things. So I’m happy to just let my eye be caught by something. If something catches my eye that’s enough reason to take the picture.”

Henry Wessel has some insightful things to say about his intuitive process of making photographs. Among them is how he allows a long period of time, at least a year, between actually taking his photos and when he scrutinises them, allowing him to more objectively assess what he has captured (something that I’ve noted in my own experience is a requirement. A related phenomenon that I’ve also experienced is that I’ll often go back through my old archives and discover photos that I had previously ignored, usually photos with more subtle charms, that I’d initially ignored in favour of more obvious work).

“It’s a good lag time”, he says, “because what happens is that I forget about the subjective experience of taking the picture, which is always pleasurable.”

Wessel has also spoken about what he refers to as encountering the world with “soft eyes”, a concept I personally discovered in my own wanderings with a camera. In my own writings I’ve referred to it simply as being “in the zone” (I’ve written about this in the past, here). That is, moving about with one’s mind open and clear, not looking for anything in particular, but merely remaining open to allow an intuitive response to the subject matter and situations that present themselves. At some point, something inevitably catches my interest and I’ll photograph it. Sometimes, I’ll even later find that I’ve taken a photograph that delights me, and I’ll have little or no recollection of having taken it. I think it’s part and parcel of an intuitive approach to photographing, this circumventing of the critical, practical mind in order to allow the subconscious mind to be receptive, unhindered and unfiltered.

– December 2017

Read about more inspiring artists here.