Turning the Camera Inward: A search for a photography of the self

Turning the Camera Inward: A search for a photography of the self

by Dale Garell


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This is a book for those who love photography, enjoy taking photos, and are intrigued by the possibility that by doing so, they might learn more about themselves and find new ways to express their art. It means using imagination to tap into a part of their inner world. It means we can become artists of both our personal and work lives.

This book is my story and how my photography has evolved: about why photography has become important to my own process; about getting older; and about learning to accept realities and limitations as a person and a photographer. The book is also a reaffirmation, a summary of my work to date, a way of taking stock; and finally, it’s a way to share why I am so hopeful about where my art is going and what I have to do to continue to learn.

One doesn't have to begin a new career as a photographer to use photography as a tool for self-learning. Self-learnng is about starting a new creative process, testing the possibilities of learning, and discovering outcomes very different from expectations. It is about keeping going, being persistent and focused and for me, it has been acting "as if" I was a photographer when I wasn't really sure I might ever become one.

The process itself of writing this book has altered its original plan for content. I have examined literally thousands of my pictures taken since I started in 2004. My review led me to look at the photos very differently and to select the ones that illustrate the importance of turning the camera inward. I continue to learn about myself.

Highlights of my story include learning from a young boy in a wheelchair accompanied by his father who, after I had shared my camera with him, agreed to have his picture taken; a trip to Paris when I learned what it was like to need a wheelchair to navigate the busy international airports and what it looked like from that angle; viewing parts of my life from a panoramic view and imagining their connectedness; redefining the meaning of success and learning about what is truly important; becoming a photographer and realizing that the journey isn't over.

I hope people will not only look at individual photos in this book, but also at the body of my work as a whole. I’d like you to think of the content of this book as several rooms of an exhibit covering the last twelve years. I believe there is an internal consistency: taking pictures of people in the streets; finding scenes that can have universal meaning, looking for special moments that evoke a sense of humor or whimsy or sadness or curiosity; seeking and discovering images that touch me; and finding pictures later on that highlight personal experiences in my own life that add richness and texture.

Dale Garell

September, 2017

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780982663721
Publisher: Dale Garell Photography LLC
Publication date: 11/01/2017
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.33(d)

About the Author

Dale Garell retired from a busy administrative practice of pediatrics in 2000 and began, as with so many retirees, looking for something else to do. After a long, productive academic career that ended as Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, he began taking pictures--mostly tourist pictures as he and his wife traveled to Paris and throughout Europe. It soon became more than that, evolving into a second career; and ultimately, looking at what impact photography was having on himself as a person and his art.

As a physician, his earlier career had been highlighted by helping to establish the field of Adolescent Medicine, starting one of the first teen hotlines as a crises intervention resource at the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. He has published in academic journals, co-authoring one of the first text books of Adolescent Medicine and as a co-editor of a multi-book, Encyclopedia of Health. His career has spanned the clinical care of children and adolescents, public health including administration of a program for infants, children and adolescents with catastrophic and chronic illness, exploring ways to provide a more humanistic health care, serving as an educator in medical school curriculum development. He had little interest in photography during his early lifetime until retirement.

Now in his 80's, he has begun to deal with the process of his own aging; and its impact on himself as a person and a photographer. This is his first book on photography and the self.

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