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This is a stitched panorama view of the Admiral overpass in Schmitz Park in West Seattle. Click image to view a much larger version.

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Schmitz Park West Seattle - Urban Landscapes by Neil Buckland

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I always think of art as a form of communication. When I create an image, I make decisions throughout the process that contribute to the overall message I wish to convey. Sometimes that message can be “isn’t this beautiful?” Other times, the goal is to sell a product to a customer by engaging their intrigue or presenting clear information. Sometimes I may have a particular set of thoughts or emotions that I’m attempting to trigger in my audience.

With any one of these goals in mind, it’s critical to recognize that communication is a two-way process that MUST involve the audience. If I wish to communicate anything, I must craft my message to ensure that it is actually received. I often encounter artists who express disdain for the idea of “tailoring” their art to suit their audience. Many people might call this “commercial art” or “selling out.” I certainly agree that my art has to be pure, created entirely to express the message I want to express and not necessarily the message my audience wants to hear. But it is not enough to show complex and cryptic images and expect my audience to “rise to my level.” I always endeavor to create images that connect with people. For me, an image that fails to connect with its audience, is not a completed piece of art.

One of the key  elements of my Open Critique Nights is letting the audience form thoughts and opinions without any input from the photographer. This allows the photographer to learn wether the image is successful at communicating his or her intended vision even when they are not present to offer explanation. This uncontaminated feedback is truly invaluable for the development of creative vision.

I’m interested in reading your comments about what this image conveys to you. What thoughts and feelings are triggered? What elements particularly stand out to you? What do YOU think is my intention when showing this image?

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