The Innocent Eye
So...my baby daughter is now 16, and of course she's taking photography in school. She has never shown much interest and she thinks daddy is absolutely insane..but I digress...
I have armed her with my Nikon FM3A, a 50mm lens, a roll of Tri-X and some very basic knowledge so she could operate the camera. Nothing more, as she would not have listened anyway :) She had an assignment from her teacher, blew through the roll, and a few days ago, developed it and made a contact sheet. This was all a first ever for her. When I saw the contact sheet, I must say, my mouth fell open. First of all, each image was perfectly exposed, and I mean dead on. More importantly, every frame was fun, composed with an innocent eye, unbound by the many bullshit rules seasoned photographers live by, and because of that, the images are fresh, alive, and different.
It reminded me that the more we know, learn about the great photographers of the past, emulate them, (or at least aspire to), become entangled in rules, zone systems, boundaries, developers, film, gear, the more we lose sight of what is important. Maybe it's just part of aging, of becoming older but not always wiser, and forgetting that....the innocent eye is free to see.
fun stuff max ... chip off the old block !
i try never to pay attention to any rules .. i guess
i should have a mohawk like i did in the 80s ;)
probably won't since every 2nd and 1st grader
tends to have a mohawk cause its a " cute " fashion statement ?
If we look from the 80's to today I don't have enough hair left to style it in any of the ways I did then!!
Yes, it is great to see what fresh eyes can see. I find I need a new place now before I can see images. Like what going on a holiday or workshop does.
Everything around me in my everyday life feels so stale why would I want to capture an image of that?
''I'm a celebrator. That's why I like the Russians. They look at a tree and cry out, 'Look at that tree!' They're full of original astonishments.''
— Mel Brooks, quoted by Kenneth Tynan in Frolics and Detours of a Short Hebrew Man, The New Yorker, October 30, 1978
Inexperience often brings a breath of fresh air. Not bound by rules and other matters that tend to confuse those who have been in the game a long time.
I know that when my son was about 9-10 I gave him an old folding roll film camera and helped him with exposure/focussing etc. After that it was an Olympus OM10 and well as they say is history. He's 37 now and a better photographer than I will ever be. Whats more he's come back to film after a brief 'honeymoon' with digital.
No doubt...it pains me when I come to the realization that I had a better eye when I was first starting out than I do now. Sometimes too much information can be debilitating....
Here here, Max. Totally agree, especially when it comes to compositional rules. Regarding technique, I posted once before in another thread about how before forums and the internet, when a photographer started to learn there was a certain amount of what I call "beneficial ignorance". If you read a good old starter book you start developing film and printing and having fun. If you instead google film developing, you'll find 1,001 problems to solve and 1,001 more reasons why it is nearly impossible to do this well.
I have had difficulty lately just taking a photograph. I worry too much about whether it will meet my expectations or not. Your post reminds me of when I really didn't give a damn. Maybe I should return to not caring too much if at all.
She may have developed some taste and eye for photography growing up with you, but now it's her turn to do it her way.
My wife, living with me, has picked up some "these things are usually important in a photo" skills from living with me; nothing formal or rule based. My oldest daughter is but 7, so she uses a camera for documenting/fun sometimes, but not really into artistic photography yet.
My 8 year old daughter is shooting pics with my 1940ish Ikoflex TLR. She needs to learn about exposing, but her composition is amazing! She gets ideas and runs with them, even using natural framing. She's better at it than I am, sometimes. Kids have this ability to see the world in ways we've forgotten, and it always reminds me that everything in this world is new, even if it's ancient! Getting into LF has helped me see things differently, which makes me understand her pics better, too.
It shows that your influence is greater than you think!