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  1. #1
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Ideas or Pictures?

    As my photography life continues on, I seem to be interested more and more in purely subject matter. This has proven a bit difficult for me to live by, because I'm not 100% confident in how to handle it. How do I follow my heart?

    Hopefully photography is about subject matter; finding something interesting, taking a picture of it, and finally making a killer print out of it. After all, my aim is to satisfy nobody but myself, and while I enjoy sharing with others, discussing, and giving or receiving critiques, my endeavor is entirely selfish - it's all about satisfying myself.

    How does the rest of the world practice photography?
    Do you aim your photography at selling the pictures? Or does it all come from the heart? Do you blend what's in your heart with inspiration from others?
    Do you subscribe to any particular ideas about photography, like all your photos have to be stark realism, or romantic like pictorialism?

    For me, I just keep taking pictures of things that interest me, and then I attempt to make the best print that I am able to. That's my idea of what photography should be about, about seeing, reacting, and transferring what I saw to paper in a way I think looks great. The end goal is always to be true to my heart with my intention.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  2. #2
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    I think about pleasing others, mainly.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomalophicon View Post
    I think about pleasing others, mainly.
    Come on, you're lying.

  4. #4
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Thanks for your valuable contributions. Come on, is that the best you can do?
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #5
    guitstik's Avatar
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    I hate to use Steiglitz name because it gets bantered about almost as much as Adam's but I watched a bunch of you tube videos at work last night on him and that is basically what he was saying. Photography shouldn't fit some mold but conform to the wants and desires of the photographer. I take the photographs I do for me and if they sell so much the better because that means that others see the way I do and they like what I have captured.
    Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
    Of the truth that gold can never buy
    Of the bawbles that it may.

    www.silverhalidephotography.com

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomalophicon View Post
    I think about pleasing others, mainly.
    Any photographer in the business of selling photographs should also feel that way. Only us self-indulgent non-commercial photographers have the liberty of doing what we want.

  7. #7
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    As my photography life continues on, I seem to be interested more and more in purely subject matter. This has proven a bit difficult for me to live by, because I'm not 100% confident in how to handle it. How do I follow my heart?

    Hopefully photography is about subject matter; finding something interesting, taking a picture of it, and finally making a killer print out of it. After all, my aim is to satisfy nobody but myself, and while I enjoy sharing with others, discussing, and giving or receiving critiques, my endeavor is entirely selfish - it's all about satisfying myself.

    How does the rest of the world practice photography?
    Do you aim your photography at selling the pictures? Or does it all come from the heart? Do you blend what's in your heart with inspiration from others?
    Do you subscribe to any particular ideas about photography, like all your photos have to be stark realism, or romantic like pictorialism?

    For me, I just keep taking pictures of things that interest me, and then I attempt to make the best print that I am able to. That's my idea of what photography should be about, about seeing, reacting, and transferring what I saw to paper in a way I think looks great. The end goal is always to be true to my heart with my intention.
    I aim for a consistency of vision in the work that I make, but I agree, I make images that say something to me. I want to put down on paper something that I saw, be it the curve of a torso or the texture of a wall, or even something just a little humorous or quirky like the seals holding the coats of arms at the entrance to a San Francisco apartment building instead of the usual lions. I'd like to think that my images have a common feel to them and that you can spot something I photographed as being by me.

  8. #8
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    I think you already know how I feel, T. It really depends on needs and personality and how YOU feel. From a selling standpoint, when it comes to taste, there is a market for almost everything. Obviously, selling, has a lot to do with other things (marketing for one) than actual quality or particular genre of the images. Therefore, I am in the camp that you have to do what you love to do and what pleases you. Only then you can be happy and satisfied. If others enjoy your work, great, and if they don't, that's okay too. We all know that if any successful photographer had obsessed about the perception from the general public or their peers, they would have never developed their signature look and be satisfied with their work. There is no way to make everyone happy with anything so you might as well be happy with what you do and remain satisfied with the notion that some may enjoy it as well. If that means bouncing around a bit to taylor your prints to different visions or moods, that's okay because it should be that way. Like in music, you can interpret the same song in so many different ways, based on your feelings. Photography is the same. Those who feel tied by boundaries because they simply imitate the work of others, or a particular movement (pictorialism), are only limiting themselves. Same as those who feel they have to show every bit of shadow detail because they feel that's what St Ansel wants. Creative expression is what moves YOU and that's all you should be concerned about.
    You know my favorite quote from Ralph Gibson.. ""You see, I'm not interested in mediocrity in photography. I'm not interested in selling cat shit to dogs. I just want to do my own thing. If people like my work, all the better. If they don't, too bad." - Ralph Gibson

  9. #9
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Any photographer in the business of selling photographs should also feel that way. Only us self-indulgent non-commercial photographers have the liberty of doing what we want.
    Depends on what you're selling, I would guess. Stock photography, for example, is a job and nothing more. For everything else, that approach is one sure way to be miserable and unsatisfied with one's work. I guess I am lucky that I don't need photography to put food on my table but, if had to, and that meant going out with my tripod and take the cliche pictures of rocks, clouds, water and trees, then make a pretty and well toned print to sell to the crowds, I'd much rather be pumping gas. Just my two cents of course and everyone's mileage may vary...

  10. #10
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Thanks for your contributions. It's interesting to see your accounts.

    My idea all along has been about pleasing myself, and as my perceptions change, so does my photography. Go with the flow.

    I like that Ralph Gibson quote, Max. Selling cat shit to dogs.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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