Introduction: Photographing the Esoteric: Life Through the Lens

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Life is amazing and sometimes you're lucky enough to capture a tiny esoteric piece of it with a camera. I've been fortunate to capture a lot of unique perspectives over the years and the ones in this 'ible are some of my favorites. They remind me that some of the best images are the ones we don't expect, in places we might not have looked, and for reasons we'll never know.

But somehow they're there, they're beautiful and if the light is right, they're yours to reflect on as long as you'd like.

Step 1: Love in Unexpected Places

We're pre-programmed to see faces and familiar shapes in unusual places. This heart shaped spider web caught my eye, when it stood out clearly in the sunshine, framed by the red and green of lichens and leaves. When you see these kinds of familiar shapes it can be hard to capture them sometimes. Angle around so that what you see in the lens tells the story you saw in person - otherwise this would just be a web, and not a love story.

Step 2: Life Is Complex and Cluttered

So says this alleyway in Rapid City, South Dakota. Shooting at an angle here reveals the path through the tangled power grid, where shooting straight ahead would have lost some of the complexities of the transformers and structural supports.

Step 3: Look Up and See Things

We spend a lot of time looking down these days. Look up and you can find images and ideas that might surprise and delight you. This was a Sharknado before Sharknado was a thing, and it's a great juxtaposition of artificial shark and incoming storm.

Step 4: The Sacred in the Unconsecrated

Sometimes people leave evidence of themselves in the most unexpected places, like this painting of the Virgin Mary on the inside of a culvert, complete with mosaic work along the culvert floor. Be open to the sacred wherever you find it!

Step 5: Artful Vices

Hookah lounges and smoke shops in Miami suggest both darkness and artness. It's possible to have both in the same place at the same time.

Step 6: Hidden Faces

Sometimes hidden faces tell the best stories - and also don't require photo releases.

Step 7: Emptiness of Being

I love these clothes buddies, arm in arm on a line, filled only with the ghost of friendship.

Step 8: Celebrate the Unexpected

Celebrate the unexpected wherever you find it, especially if you happen to have the camera handy.