~ The Life of The Image ~

Photography is not something I have been doing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. However, I have always been fascinated with the shapes and shadows of things, the ever-changing nature of light, and the beautiful patterns made when light filters through the structures of man or nature.

It was that fascination that led to the purchase of my first camera when I was eighteen. This was 1969, my father was in the MACV (Military Assistance Command in Vietnam) Program, and our family lived on Clark Field Air Force Base in the Philippines. There I learned to scuba dive and became mesmerized by the splendor of light streaming through the restless, liquid medium of the South China Sea…its rays flickering along the bottom, highlighting the translucence of various sea creatures, and gleaming off of the reflective bodies of fish. So, we went to Japan and I bought a Nikonos II underwater camera!! This camera today gathers dust in my closet, but I cannot think of it without recalling both my attempts to capture beauty undersea and the fact that many of my dive companions were airmen already living with images of darkness.

My old camera has a life of its own; it has been places; dark places and light places, and when I touch it memories flow. I feel exactly the same way about photographs. It is tempting to look at a photograph as merely a technical capture of the reality in front of the camera lens. What is viewable on paper is the whole story. Right? Not quite! Every image has a story behind it…a story of creative vision, a story of interaction with the scene, a story of adventure, a story of supreme joy or even a story of how fast you raced back to your truck in an attempt to outrun voracious, blood-thirsty mosquitoes while trying to capture the beauty of the Everglades on an oppressive summer day! Whew! Yes, a photograph is more than a record of what something looked like at a particular moment in time; it has a life!

With these galleries, I’d like to share my images and the life that each holds. While I live in South Florida and enjoy exploring my own back yard, it is a great source of pleasure whenever I have the chance to travel and capture the unique beauty of other lands.

Your comments, criticisms and questions are welcomed in equal measure, here onsite, or drop me an e at janthina50@hotmail.com. All images are copyright ©jalovell.

In closing, enjoy this quotation by Roy J. Cook, editor of my favourite book of poetry “One Hundred and One Famous Poems.” The quotation is from his preface and I include it here because although written of the need for poetry, it also translates to the need for retreat into the natural world and why we love the great masters of scenic photography so much, such as Ansel Adams and his modern descendants in the art, as Clyde Butcher here in south Florida:


“There are souls, in these noise-tired times, that turn aside into unfrequented lanes, where the deep woods have harbored the fragrances of many a blossoming season. Here the light, filtering through perfect forms, arranges itself in lovely patterns for those who perceive beauty.”....Roy J. Cook

©2007 jalovell

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This was my apparatus circa 1970 in the Philippines.  I was photographing fish and coral formations...and a crinoid or two...with  my Nikonos II underwater camera. It was terribly exciting to use that camera and I learned so much with it. Seems a bit  primitive, looking back, to have had  the flash attachment with those bulbs you had to pop out and gather up into the bag so they wouldn't float to the surface.

We were spoiled too,  as in those days we dived off outrigger boats called banca boats. These vessels had just enough room for two divers, their gear, the driver and maybe some lunch. The boat engine, located in the center, was much like a lawnmover engine in that it had a pull cord for a starter.  I did not realize how closely our banca driver followed our bubbles until I lost my light meter during a dive. Encased in its water proof housing, it floated up and out of sight. Upon reaching the surface at the end of the dive, I was thrilled when our driver produced the device. Those early days of adventure and learning photography are forever embedded in my heart and mind!

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