by Steve Korn on Feb. 13, 2020
I’ve always loved the storytelling power of a single image. Questioning the moments just before and after the shutter was released, creates a narrative. Where is this person going?…where have they been? The imagination is engaged and a story is implied. In its simplest form a dancer or athlete leaping through the air conjures the moments of leaving the ground and landing, even though neither are seen in the image.
The challenge I sought was the creation of a static image with a sense of storytelling or narrative. An image devoid of context and expression might engage the imagination, who is this person? how old are they? what do they do? Are they kind, quiet...angry? And, why do I think that? A narrative of who the person is leading to the moment the photo was taken and who they might be from that moment forward is created.
These narratives, good and bad, are based on personal experience, social cues and stereotypes. When applied to an unfamiliar face, they are ultimately meaningless and more is revealed about the viewer than the subject of the photo.
All images above ©2020 Steve Korn. All rights reserved.
She had posed this question with genuine enthusiasm, every four or five minutes since we'd met. My jazz band had just finished setting up in the store cafeteria. I wasn't excited. Performing to a sparsely filled cafeteria of unsuspecting diners who were just there for the meatballs, didn't hold the same allure as a smokey club. The environment is important. It made me realize my love of music is as dependent on the images created in my mind as the notes being played. I'm driven by visuals: colors, shapes, lines, expression, culture.
I grew up with the work of Ansel Adams and Andrew Wyeth in the house. They were as important as Miles Davis and The Beatles. As I turned further toward photography, I saw the parallels of line and color, energy, emotion, atmosphere, and a million other things that both disciplines share. Combined with a fascination for people, who they are, what they do, why they do it and how we all get along, I had found my voice. I shifted focus from being a full-time jazz drummer, music teacher and university professor to being a photographer.
Now I spend my days crafting images, working with inspiring people, trying to inspire in return, solving problems, communicating and finding common vision.
Putting something into the world that never existed before, expressing the simple beauty that is every person, the joy of a color and a line and the emotional power they communicate through shared culture and personal experience...these are the things that excite and drive me. This is my dream and I get to live it every day.