Day 140 / 365
So I finally got some time to head out and give the Fuji x100 a real workout today, off I headed to nearby Harrogate. Lucky me headed straight into the rain, now I said the fuji needed a workout but i’m not quite ready to test it’s water repellency just yet. Spotted this shot and despite the voice in my head screaming at me not to shoot such a cliche fired off a quick frame before walking back to the car feeling a little dirty for my lack of creativity today. However in hindsight it fits perfectly with what has been on my mind for a week or so.
I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the craft of photography lately, partly due to Mr DuChemin elegantly putting into words many of my recent thoughts & feelings on modern photography. I hinted at this the other day when I mentioned briefly my feelings on flickr and it’s general tide of fluffy kittens & rainbows. One statement I’ve recently come to take to heart is “If you frame up a shot and feel you’ve seen it before, then don’t press that shutter”. We need to push the craft of photography forward and stop shooting what we think people want to see (ie. what we’ve seen already that has been received with praise).
I don’t have any problem with using others concepts and putting your vision onto them but straight out shooting to look like someone else isn’t going to get you (or anyone else) very far. Surely we are photographers because we want to share our personal vision of the world with others, much like writers and painters. We create something which expresses how WE see the world, not how we think others want us to see the world.
Here’s the perfect image from a flickr contact of mine in which he expresses in his comment pretty much my feelings on the current state of many photographers work (and I’m not just saying this of photographers on flickr).
My best advice? Well if you do see someones shot and think “hey that’s cool, I’m going to shoot one of those.” then rather than just trying to replicate what they did, examine exactly what it is about the shot that you think is “cool”. Is it the light, the moment, the composition, examine your true feelings on the photograph rather than just trying to make a photograph that you hope someone else is going to say “Oh that’s cool”,”Great shot”, “Fav”. In fact better than that, unplug the computer and pick up a book of Cartier-Bresson, Avedon, O’Neill, Penn, Winograd, Adams, Evans photographs and spend an hour or so looking at them. Feel the power the physical photograph has that looking at a monitor seems to lack.
Sure I’m not saying every image we take has to be able to change the world with its power and emotion, I’m just saying it’s time we all took a moment to consider what it is we are really trying to say with our work.
I’ll leave you with a quote (it’s been awhile since one of these) –
I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term -meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching – there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster. – Ansel Adams
Oh, I do like todays photograph by the way, It’s just I expect more of myself.