I'm at a similar place. When I started photography, I shot 35mm exclusively for a couple of years. Then I switched to 4x5 for about ten years. Over that time, I became much more technically knowlegdable about photography, and I was using much more expensive equipment. Recently, though, I've gone through my entire collection, and my conclusion is that I like my earlier pictures better, with a couple of exceptions.
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
I'm lucky. I'm called to photograph the landscape I live in and love, and the things humans build which the environment is absorbing through decay. The images aren't intended to contain complex layers of ever deepening meaning...they're just records of things and places which amazed me or which moved me to document them in time.
I've come to realize that it's not my place to understand everything about the way I work, or where that work is heading. My job is to be alert and receptive to those images which make me see in a new way, and to follow where I'm led. Sometimes it leads to dead ends, sometimes it opens doors to new ways of seeing or new techniques.
Another thing I've decided is that a photographers work cannot be truly understood until they're dead and gone and their entire lifes work can be seen as a whole. How can you know where you are on your path, or where that path leads when you're somewhere in the middle of it? If you do manufacture a path, are you being true to yourself as an artist? To decide where you're heading means you'll probably ignore those little urges that call you to discover things unseen. I prefer not to over analyse it.
I take the images - it's up to others to figure out what those images mean to them through the layers of their own life experience.
...or something like that :rolleyes: sheesh, it's too early for this!
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
Like others I am picking up the camera now to make images after a very long period of casual snapshots.
My last twenty years has been a photographic technical rollercoaster and now I finally feel comfortable to use a camera purely for the joy that I recieve.
I feel like I am at college again with a camera and only thinking of ideas to persue. The very big difference from them *well two, I am much fatter* is that I have the photographic technique thing nailed completely to the point that I only think of the image when using a camera.
This is a very good space to be in , and I am photographing now projects that 8 years ago I was not ready to do.
Originally Posted by bjorke
What's evolved for me is 'seeing'. In fact, I have to put figurative blinders on when driving for a purpose (like commuting) to keep my eyes on the road, and not on putting imaginary rectangles and squares around about 80% of everything I see. My wife, a painter, has shown me so much about what 'works' that I'm excited and exhausted just keeping my eyes open all day As to technical matters, I've learned enough to get my prints made well enough to satisfy myself for the time being. I'd love to have the time and funds to get some solid coaching, but that will perhaps come some other day.
In a sense, I guess I'm one of Roger's "ignoramuses". I spend very little time thinking, worrying, perseverating or otherwise obsessing over technical minutia, and even less on equipment. I just really love making pictures.
I have hit plateaus several times in the over twenty years that I have been photographing. Each of those plateaus had to do with discovering something new and thereto undiscovered about myself.
About four months ago, I made a conscious commitment to make 5 new exposures per day. I shoot 4X5 most of the time. A little 8X10 and very little medium format. Since I did that, I have found myself seeing in new ways. I think that seeing is the foundation of everyone's photography.
Are these images that have meaning? Do they please anyone? I can't speak for others but they feel good to me and that is all that counts.
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My photography probably (because I am not sure I am the best judge) reflects influences on my life, rather than the other way around. What I was doing in my mid-teens, in my 20's, 30's and now post-40 seems to have been reflected in what camera format I was using and my subject choice. Moving from the UK to California at the end of the last century (!) made a big difference.
While I suppose some people have a nice linear development, I think I tend to go back and forth, with (I hope) some net progress.
I feel, therefore I photograph.
Amen to all that.
Originally Posted by grahamp
Possibly even Hallelujah!
Oooooh yes. Normally at a time of momentous change. Such as just at present as it happens.
Originally Posted by bjorke
I've always made a habit to 'take stock' of where I'm at from time to time. The funny thing is, the more control I try to put over the photography, the further away from my own expression it tends to head. Talking about photography for 'myself' not commercial. When I'm inspired to photograph by my own experiences or current events or interests, it feels like the real thing. If I'm ever inspired into action by someone elses photography, it's like a quick fix, left unsatisfying.
I do like new experiences and chase them. Having my photography keep up with that is important to me. At varying times it feels behind.
...How do you feel about the change, if any?
I use that as a gauge. The more uncomfortable, the bigger the change that's going on probably. And likely the bigger the change in direction that's going to result.
Probably rambling too. Not sure now if that was what you were asking.
I thought it was the result of having a brain and a heart and a conscience (NOT trying to suggest you don't Michael). I don't think there's anything wrong with it, nor do I think that one should be afraid of asking oneself 'difficult' questions. There are clearly different cultures with respect to this sort of thing. i.e. - seeing indecision as 'weakness', etc... it seems to me that especially if one is in a 'creative' endeavour - that one is particularly prone to asking oneself those kinds of questions.
Originally Posted by blansky
I am CONSTANTLY doubting myself with respect to photography. It doesn't mean I'm questioning my abilities - in fact my confidence level with the medium verges on extreme arrogance (LOL) - but I AM constantly questioning decisions. It's SO important, I think - to even question your entire approach - and ask yourself "what am I trying to say?" "could I make the same photograph more powerfully with very different subject matter?" "what is it that I'm actually doing?" "Does changing the lighting, or the film, or the framing or whatever reinforce or take away from what I'm trying to say?". These are just a FEW of the many questions.
There's always Julia Cameron for the answers Kevin.
Last edited by John McCallum; 08-20-2006 at 08:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.