I hope that you and your family are safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a lot of us, we are following stay-at-home orders and not going out much. For those of you stuck in essential jobs, thank you for continuing to do your job. I have had several conversations with my photographer friends about how they are dealing with all of these changes. For many of them, while stressed about the general situation, they felt it was an opportunity to really dive into their work. While this has been true for some, for others not so much.
In this week’s podcast, I talk about how important it is to remember that not only is dealing with our current crisis a long road ahead, but so is photography a long road. Along that road will be many stops, twists, turns, and changes. What matters most is that you find your center and focus on the key things you need in your life now. For some that might be going all-in on photography and for others, that creative spark might seem gone. No matter where you are, know that the journey will continue. Finding your center and focusing on what matters most, keeping your energy up, and recognizing that sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack when we aren’t getting done all that we thought we would.
In this week’s podcast, we take a look at the importance of recognizing when you hit a turning point in your work. This might be technical, where you finally learn your workflow tools and feel confident editing. It might be in learning how to use some camera features that you always planned on learning. The turning point might also be more in your artistic vision as you learn to communicate more deeply what you are thinking and feeling behind the camera. No matter where you are in your process, each of these turning points furthers you on your journey and should be celebrated for what they are, a gift.
I am often amazed at how often we get caught up in the most simple of problems. It doesn’t matter if it is as simple as picking a new camera or picking out what image to edit and print. We can spin around and around trying to get a problem resolved that we have made more complicated than it needs to be. Many times, the best images, solutions and ideas have a simplicity to them. Not that they aren’t complex in composition, meaning or structure, but rather our experience of those images and ideas make them more than the sum of their parts.
In this week’s podcast, we take a look at some of the simple mistakes we can make as photographers and how to put our best foot forwards to getting what we want out of our photography.
As photographers, we should be making prints. There are a whole host of reasons why we should make prints: the materiality of it, shareability, improved seeing, longevity, or some other reason you might have. We also spend a considerable amount of our time looking at photographs that are mere reproductions of the original image. In this week’s podcast, I tackle the importance of looking at the best prints and reproductions possible. Often when we think about someone’s photographs, it is from copies we might have seen on the Internet or in a book. In many cases, those will pale by comparison to the original work (and in some cases exceed). As viewers and creators of photographs, we need to make sure that we are putting our best foot forward in our prints and also contextualizing the work of the others so that we can properly evaluate their work.
Photographers are an odd bunch. We often find our conversations drifting from one absolute to nothing be absolute. One area that I have always found interesting, and seems to fit this back and forth, is how approach and talk about composition. When you learn about photography and photographs, we talk about the rules of composition, elements of composition, and how they should be followed. Then as soon as tell people to follow them, we ask them to break the rules to be exciting or showcase examples of a photographer who has been able to make interesting photographs by not following the rules.
In this week’s podcast, I take a look at how our misguided approach to thinking about and discussing composition can be a problem. We will look at how photographs with composition and not subject are no better than images with good subjects and no composition. Ultimately, we need to understand how various elements of composition come together in a photograph to help us understand and appreciate the photograph, intention of the photographer, and possible meanings of the photograph. While composition might be all about connecting and making space and dimension in a photograph, as photographers, our ability to understand composition is central to getting work created that speaks to who we are as photographers.