Field Trips...

September 08, 2020

Field Trip... hearing the term, I at once go back to my grade school days when once or twice a year, just prior to being released from class, a certain form would be distributed amongst me and my classmates. It indicated that a field trip was in the works. The paperwork being distributed required the permission of an adult to grant us that rare reprieve from the routine of schoolwork, recess, schoolwork, lunch, schoolwork, homework... and then tomorrow all over again.


"Immediate sources count for a lot."

Beyond breaking up the monotony and a dose of freedom, what do field trips offer? Back then, and still now they extend the chance to bust out beyond the confines of ritual in order to wonder, to use outdoor voices for more than some allotted 20 minutes and to shorten the distance between you and your object of study. The intention is that we return from these field visits refreshed and curious with a mind that has been stretched in some new ways. Frank Stella, in the above quote, sums up well the power of up close encounters with our objects of study. 


I remain a big fan of field trips and indulge in them as much as possible. I find that the attraction or actual distance from home matters little. My purpose with these adventures is to detach myself from the classroom that is my studio where I clutch to the delusion that I have some supreme command over knowledge. These step aways, for me, remind me of the vastness that I do not know and nudge me to salute the questions - mostly through the lens of my camera.


This past weekend found me enjoying such a field visit at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami. With its timeless Mediterranean-style architecture, and collections dating from the early 20th-century all the way back to Pompeii, Vizcaya’s Main House was the jewel of a fledgling Miami when it was built between 1914 and 1922. Its surrounding 10 acres offer visitors spectacular "Italianate" gardens. Stepping through the property's magnificent entry gates you at once feel as thought you have been magically transported to Florence.



Upon arriving at my destinations, be it a quiet garden or a grand plaza, I try to resist the reflex to fire my lens in all directions and instead use the soundscape and the contours of these settings to wander and slowly connect with the spirit of the place. In doing so, the shutter is depressed far less frequently (and that takes much practice and patience), but mostly the yield is well worth it. 


Returning to class from those grade school field trips, often we would be required to produce a report in order to establish some evidence of our learning. Despite all of its splendor, the quiet story that unfolded for me at Vizcaya was this timeless European air, smack in the middle of Miami of all places. The images captured here with my Velvet 56 Lensbaby document a bit of my learning experience.

I find the Velvet family of lenses, hands down, to be THE perfect field trip companions - especially in weathered settings such as Vizcaya. With a dreamlike quality, they rather effortlessly capture the faded pastels, well-worn cobblestone and pulsing romance of some bygone chapter. I photographed much of my recent book breath taking the language of pause, wandering the streets of Paris, Brussels and Florence with this family of lenses in tow.

Here's to field trips, and to their evidence of a mind stretched, with ever more to learn...





Lensbaby is a manufacturer of special effects camera lenses and accessories - for cameras of ALL shapes and sizes. The company’s mission is to support photographers in discovering “more wonder”. Amen! Each field trip with my Lensbabies finds me truly seeing in a new way and enjoying many happy accidents... like the photographs contained here. You can learn more about the Lensbaby product line through their websiteI'm pleased to share with you this discount code should you find a product there that strikes your fancy: WCurrie



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