by Stephen Terlizzi
Precisely at 7:00 p.m., on the third Thursday of each month, in a small room in downtown Los Altos, California, photography enthusiasts gather for a monthly ritual – the local photo competition. While there is no large prize awards or Pulitzer Prize winning recognition, everyone takes the competition results and the resulting feedback very seriously. As each photographer’s images are open for display and critique, one can witness a strange blend of pride and humility filling the atmosphere of the room.
It can be hard to watch one's perfectly-composed Swallowtail Butterfly on Agapanthus getting smoked in the Nature category by a much more interesting photo of cheetahs devouring its prey on the plains of the Serengeti, or a cute blue-footed booby from the Galapagos Islands. Unfortunately for me, with a two-year old daughter, the probability of any animals on the Serengeti prancing in front of my camera lens is pretty low, unless I start shooting pictures off the Discovery Channel.
Granted the aforementioned daughter is a secret weapon in my arsenal and is a ready-made model for great portraits. But since turning two, she is not as pliable a model as she was before. As clichéd as it sounds, the terrible twos has paid a price on my photography. I knew that a different approach to photography was crucial; I found it in abstract photography.