Understanding ‘real’ and creative photography
Many times have i looked at a budding photographer’s portfolio and thought to myself ‘this person needs to take a step back from the camera and subject’, what ever the subject may be – people, landscapes or people and a landscape together. There’s a level of critical thought even detachment fused with raw honesty thats needed if you’re ever to call yourself a great photographer or at least to be called one.Sounds like a big, bold and brash statement and maybe it is but the point is valid.
Quality of light
Lets say you’ve passed the photo technical mumbo jumbo test and know your apertures from your shutter speeds and you now prefer to shoot in manual (a must!), you’re setting up a beach shoot its 5pm and you’re thirsty, no not really but time is pressing on and you need to get it sorted pronto before you lose good quality of light.
You’ve by now just set up your three legged friend and are taking some experimental test photos with long and multiple exposures or focal shift and depth of field play,what ever you feel like because you’re a photographer now, obviously..
You the photographer have right up to that point been very focused on the camera, swearing under your breath when the cameras not doing what it should be doing and over exposing your photographs where you don’t want it to, however stick a person in front of the lens and you add another element into the visual cauldron and uncreative random mayhem could pursue, i’ve seen photographers get so involved in the people they are photographing they don’t think about light and composition. How do you take it from there? in fact where had you actually have started in the first place?
The moment you arrived on location you should have been taking a step back, even take a break if you hadn’t and think about what you are really trying to achieve, a moment of Clarity ! this is what like to call the detachment stage – freeing one’s mind from the complications of it all and letting honest and critical thought enter into dialogue with the inner monologue.
Usually at this stage of my work i have people shouting their ideas into my deaf ears, my passive defence is usually to nod my head with a vacant stare and say “hmm its possible”. Anyway back to critical thought. Questions to yourself are your friend at this point, a very important question might be Where is the light landing in context to where i am and my subject? one of the best pieces of advice i ever heard was “Photograph the light” sounds obvious but when you do take that step back, watch where its falling, in fact in everyday life make a habit of noticing it, a lot of people don’t unless its blatantly obvious! I do it on a daily basis devoid of the dangers of being labelled a space cadet but observation and noticing things other people don’t register is your ticket and key to great photography and on that point i’ll leave you to it, to be continued.