Lacking Originality

Lacking Originality, originally uploaded by bang*.

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.

Light / Switch

Light / Switch, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 103 / 365

Shadow Week.

Another heavy contrast graphic image for today. I’ve never really noticed how the light falls on this wall before. Lucky for me I did today.
Not much to add today, busy day shooting and we’re off out tonight for some well earned R & R.
Busy day tomorrow too as I have about a weeks worth of email & accounts to catch up on ( ahh the glamourous life of a photographer).
So in the time you might normally spend reading my thoughts why not take a photograph, draw a picture, write a poem, just take a few minute to yourself and create something. Don’t worry about the final product just enjoy the creative process, the journey from empty space to whatever you come up with.

Portrait Art

Portrait Art, originally uploaded by bang*.

Once the safe shots are in the bag I like to try something a little off beat.
It’s the way I’ve always been when it comes to my work.
I’m not just going to shoot the brief, I’m always going to see other possibilities, risky shots that If time permits I’m going to try out. Photographic creativity is much more about experimentation than it is about technicalities & equipment.
Push the boundaries, leap outside the box, just make sure you have the shots you were expected to produce as well.

York Criterium Race.

It’s amazing how sometimes when I head out to shoot some stuff for myself, to play with my vision and twiddle with my creativity a job opportunity comes along. Chase Jarvis had given a lecture about this very same thing, the consequences of creativity, how sometimes when you head out to create something fun just for the hell of it, other related doors fly open and people start to want to book you more.

Needless to say, I ended up with a buyer for a good chunk of the photographs I took yesterday. All because I just picked up the camera and headed out to have some fun.

York Cycleworks Team laying down some pain.