Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
I recently started a photography sharing / critique group on Facebook and in just a matter of days it’s grown to over 60 members and has seen a great deal of activity, image sharing, critique and feedback among the photographers in the forum.
It’s got me thinking about WHY people take photographs. I mean… what are the catalysts behind our desire to make “take” pictures?
I’ve been a photographer since the early 1970’s, ever since taking a photography class in college. When that first black and white photograph emerged out of the developer I was hooked and instantly knew photography would be part of my life.
I think part of it is our innate curiosity about the world around us. Photography enables us to explore and investigate those things and subjects that we find unique and interesting. Whether that be nature, people, places, unique objects, textures, abstractions or light and shadow.
Another thing I find fascinating about photography is how one person may be driven to make nature photographs and another spends every waking moment in search of the perfect portrait or landscape. Photography has something for everyone. It also forces us to be more “in tune” with the world around us. To be hyper-aware of the subtle nuances of light, textures, gestures and expressions in people. In other words… photographers have to be “in the moment” and “present” in order to SEE and CAPTURE what most people miss – walk by and don’t even notice.
Photography is a great way to unleash that creative spirit within us all and unlike other art forms like painting and ceramics the learning curve is not as steep. Once you learn camera mechanics and then a few basic techniques like framing, leading lines, rule of thirds and depth of field anyone can start making interesting and visually engaging photographs.
Like anything else… it takes practice and a commitment to develop a personal style or what I call a stylistic signature that makes your pictures an extension of your personal vision (sensibility) as an image maker. I think this is a goal we should all be striving for.
Our photographs in many ways are all autobiographical – they are an extension of who we are and what we are passionate about.
None of us ever master the medium totally – Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Edward Weston may have come close, but the beauty and magic of photography is the journey – not the finished picture hanging on the wall in a gallery.
Now go make some photographs!