But everyday, I am reminded of him when I take a look out the window at a certain time of day.
The sun sets in a way that casts a pinkish light in the distance, with the forest in front so that it feels as if the light is punching holes through the trees. It’s soft and dreamy, but rich in hue. Pinks mix with orange and green, the colors never pop or force me to look, but they but bleed and float, seductive, and invite me to stare longer. And the longer I stare at them, the more of them I see.
The contrast of the backlit trees is just creamy enough during magic hour that it remains silhouette while simultaneously reflecting a rich variety of every color your eye can witness, but it’s so subtle your brain must work hard if it’s to fight the repulsion of looking into infinity.
Harris Savides would.
Not enough people know his name. Even amongst filmmakers. But there’s a reason. It’s because he was so damn good at giving you an image you would already see without him. So good, that you may not have even noticed what you just witnessed.
In photography, that’s not easy. Photographers get in the way. Technology gets in the way. Egos get in the way. Budgets get in the way. Exhaustion gets in the way.
These days, when something strikes me as particularly beautiful, always understated, and always with a creamy contrast of harmony, I find myself thinking “This is how Harris Savides would see it.” And I stare at whatever it is, wishing deeply that I knew how to master a lens the way my eyes are experiencing it.
Last summer, once, while out surfing, the sky was open like a crack in the sky, bleeding out color. I looked into the distance to see the sun setting on one horizon. Then in the other direction: The clouds were catching the sun's reflection on the other side, as if these great celestial bodies were having some trans-oceanic conversation.
I couldn't help but think how much the sun was like a giant bulb on a film set, casting light like throwing water across objects. Whatever lucky object gets splashed is blessed with the light, and anything outside its path is in shadow.
And anytime I looked away and back again, I was witnessing a new moment in the conversation. Nature unfolds like this, constantly in miraculous ways. The infinity is not just in the depth, but also in it’s transience. Blink, and you miss one magic moment. If you don’t pay attention, you don’t receive the gift. Beauty works like this- because if it isn’t secret, the world will destroy it.
Many artisans have forgotten this humility and go through the motions, or they repeat an old trick, do the latest trend, or just want to get the next job. Humility is overwhelming, it’s not easy to stare into infinity, to give yourself completely over to something greater than yourself. Arrogance and loudness, volume and quantity need not be aware- they only need to function, they only need to have a shelf life.
But there’s the rare artist who chooses service, sees what is there, and somehow manage to frame the perfect, but often quiet, gift for us. This, still, is a constant failed mimesis by flawed humans, because the artist is an imperfect third party, faced with an immense challenge to recreate what’s perfect already.
Few have succeeded. Harris was one of them.
Until I discovered Mr. Savides’ work, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on all things visual. But I am now unlearning what I once thought I knew.
And it is because he taught me how to see.
Tyler Gooden is the director of TheFCStartMovie.com, you can keep in touch with him on twitter or send the team an email and we will send you behind the scenes sneak peeks of this special film.
The Journey Continues