Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24, 2013

I hope everyone has a Great Holiday Season! And a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22, 2013

Love of what you do creates momentum and a willingness to spend more time and effort working harder to be the best in your chosen field.  This motivation to be better at something is your calling in life. This calling challenges you to improve your skills and raise your standards as you mature in your chosen profession.

Photography does this for me.  I just can't help myself,  I must make images.  When I am shooting, I feel complete.  I am in tune with my environment and I am experiencing my subject on a personal level.

There is a freedom, a letting go of your past influences, being present in the now and creating images that can be a real high. Searching for a subject can bring a nervous energy, this increases your heart rate and brings with it an anticipation of something special, as you zero in on your composition.  You begin to lose those petty distractions, those mundane rituals of life that chain us to the details that mean nothing but redundant images of dull commonality.  We see the subject in a true sense when we experience our inner world externalized in front of us.

When you are ready to make your photograph, stop and think whether you have looked at your subject on a deeper level, more conceptually.  This pause can gain you better insight into your subject that could make a big difference in the quality of the final image, rather than just the literal composition you might have started with.  For instance, you might see an image forming that is a metaphor for your feelings. This new composition could connect to a wider audience. Subject is found, ideas are earned and willed into existence and a deeper meaning is gained by your image creation.

I have never taken a perfect image. I always see something in the final image that I could improve upon. This is good, because it makes me focus harder and see deeper into why I chose this composition over another.  Why did I choose this lens under this light?  Why didn't I wait just a few minutes longer as the light got better to show my subject?  All these reflections will prepare me next time to be aware and present to take advantage of my past mistakes and show my new subject in a better composition that will give my intent a more expressive image.

With every image you create, you will get better at spotting important details in the scene that might have been missed before. These opportunities could enhance the final image with a stronger purpose.  Through trial and error you will become a more perceptive photographer, your compositions will show similarities that begin to define you and your unique creative tendencies. 

What is your definition of success in photography?   I suppose success in photography could mean just making a few pennies on your images every month, or it could mean mucho bucks, working with a big production studio, pumping out typical imagery researched as marketable and sellable.  However, success for me is enjoying the moment and being present and focusing on my subject and working for an image I can be proud of even if no one will ever see my photograph. I am happy creating and being passionate about my image creations.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7, 2013

From birth we are trained to see the world in certain ways.  This conditioning is called socialization and it makes our lives easier when society is all on the same page.  This usually works well through the first years of schooling and then an individual begins to see different ways to accomplish and solve problems that others have missed or ignored.

Obviously this conditioning applies to photography.  We all know about the Kodak instamatic camera that claimed you could get perfect pics as long as you shot the subject a certain way... their way.  Usually this meant the sun had to be coming from behind you, over your shoulder and the person had to squint into the plastic lens.

Freeman Patterson said that a major barrier to seeing is labeling.  And Monet, the painter said,"That in order to see, we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at".  We infer from the label of a thing its essence and we then think we know this subject perfectly.

In todays fast pace and overwhelming bombardment of information, it is no wonder people have shut down and lost interest in going deeper into their inner sight.  If we were to react to everything we wouldn't be able to do anything.  So we condense our experience into a quick tweet and an ignorance of substance waiting to be discovered.

If we can open up and truly reflect on our conditioning which imposes a narrow band of consciousness in our lives we can begin to open up to our own feeling and ideas we want to express photographically.

It is rare that one finds a true voice, a true calling in the beginning of his/her career. You must work at it constantly and through trial and error, likes and dislikes, you will grow as a person and as a photographer and slowly but surely you will find a unique way to photograph your subjects through  light and composition that begins to feel right, begins to say this is who I am.  And this will lead you to the realization that you are not  going to shoot and shoot frivolous pics that have no depth or meaning beyond your nose.  Why add to the glut of the usual suspects, why not create an image with purpose and bring a new vision that can stand out from the billions of images being taken on a daily basis.

As we learn and mature in our new sight awareness we find ourselves attracted to new subjects. We begin to look for light that creates the impetus for us to the show the subject our way, an expression of self rather that a imitation of others struggles and experiences.  

Your mind having been trained to organize reality a certain way always wants to impose old patterns of seeing on your subject.  This old model is a combination of your conditioning to see imagery a certain way and to look for the casual easy redundant image over the more personal ones. We all have pressures in our lives and we sometimes try and do too much, which leads to shoddy exposures of film.  We feel the pressure to hurry up and move on to the next subject so we can conclude the image taking process and to feel somewhat satisfied that we took some pictures.  We are all guilty of this and there have been times when I have taken images knowing that I didn't put all my energy and inner sight into the exposures.

Preconceiving an image before you even get there limits your ability to find your real subject. You must let yourself open up to the subject once you are there. You absorb the environment you are in, becoming aware of light and its effects on the subject present in front of you and allowing the light and composition to move you in a new direction which connects you with your subject.  Only then do you make an image.  The preconception of your image is not imprinted on you before arriving to your destination but is there once you have explored your subject fully and found the self awareness between what the subject is in your eyes only.   

I am not saying you go to an environment completely blind and ignore the qualities of that place that make it unique and photographable.  I always do my research and have a want list in mind before I get to a destination. But once there I try and open up to the surrounding possibilities and begin to look deeper into my own reactions to the landscape.

As you grow as a photographer, you will gain valuable travel experience and craftsmanship.  You will become more aware of lighting, composition, lenses, and the freedom to bring all that together to make a great image.  You will be open to serendipity and chance encounters, looking for unusual compositions that were brought about by knowledge of camera and your high intuitive nature now resisting the casual approach of past conditioning.