I don't know if I am a better photographer then I was a few years ago, but I know I enjoy it much more. I reached a point of release awhile back where I don't care if someone is going to like what I photograph, or does not understand it or tells me it looks like so and so's work or that has been done a thousand times before.
That does not mean I do not appreciate and take to heart criticism and suggestions for improvement. I just don't stress over technicalities and getting approval. I think the best images are made by photographers who let go of all the peripheral junk and concentrate simply on seeing. Finding the image is 99%. If the idea is good it will find its way into a print. Yes the technical is important, but should be a small part of the process.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
To all the above YES, Except for Mastery and Punishment. Why punish yourself? Photography is supposed to be fun. Master? Not every shot is a masterpiece.
I remember Michael Smith saying somthing to the effect of .....if you see somthing you want to photograph, go ahead and take the picture - after all, how do you know how its going to look anyway unless you photograph it? If you 'know' what its going to look like before you take the picture, why take it? this combined with some of Paula's ideas on seeing makes it more fun for me. Fear should not enter the equation.
Originally Posted by jovo
In fact, I'm still happy to see a recognizable image on the paper when I pull it from the developer...
Seeing photos, or the possibility of one, or a subject/scene that I'd like to spend time with, is where I think that I've developed the most. My neck cranes around alot looking for the potentional in almost every place I go.
I'm sure I've gotten better, (at least compared to where I used to be) but can't really quantify it. As time has progressed I've learned more about what I don't know rather than what new skills I've mastered (OK...I haven't really mastered anything...). For instance, based on trial and error, I've learned that I need/want to spend more time learning principles of interior/studio lighting. I've started to notice that my available light shots are gradually (very gradually) improving and that I'm avoiding interior flash photos in favor of hi speed film available light shots.
I treat my photography like my golf game (which I'm equally skilled at...) I try to learn enough to keep myself playing a bit better without dwelling on too much technicality. I know that this limits my progress, but I worry that if I get too hung up on technical improvement, I'll no longer have fun. And after all, that's why I'm playing to begin with...
I have recently gotten a little enlightenment about my photography.
A few weeks ago I was at the Maine Photography Workshops, and found how two things that weren't so appearent to me prior to going.
Before I thought of myself as a photographer, in that I make photographs that are meaningful and are good. Now though I find that photography is so much more than that, photography is an act of life for me now. It is something that is very much engrained in my existance and being.
I also learned that a lot of the photographs I make are often about the things going on in my life, sort of a way of gaining an understanding of these things, especially the personal relationships, in my life.
Last edited by mtbbrian; 08-21-2006 at 03:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Going back through my stuff, I find 1994 was probably my "best year." I seem to have had major "sight seeings" that year, that I've not improved on since, in any major way, only infusing different subject matter onto exsisting themes. While the inspirations still flow, the energy to hike at 12,000 feet appears to be wanning...I'm starting to pay closer attention to the vegetable leaves growing in my garden...the "punishment" of weather, bugs, more weather, more bugs, is finally starting to make me ask, "wouldn't I rather be a people photographer?"
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For me, one measure of progress is when you revisit places you've been to previously and you see images that you just didn't notice before. And constantly asking yourself questions about your work is important too.Just don't forget to enjoy the moment. In fact sometimes I just like to look and not photograph-I can always come back another time.Keep on keeping on!
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.