I have been struggling lately trying to understand why so many more bad photographs are out there. Part of it is a volume game. Part of it is an education game. However, I am not focusing on the bad photographs from someone who doesn’t aspire to make great photographs. This weeks’ podcast is focused on why a photographer who wants to make great work continue to put out bad photographs.
As I spent time reflecting on this, I realized that we spend so much time consuming bad photography that it impacts how we see behind the camera. Like eating nothing but junk food, it is hard to be healthy when nothing good is consumed. So how do we get better? We spend time looking at better work. Look at photo books, museums, and photographers we respect. Spending time with great works inspires us to do great work.
To be better at making good photography, we need to find a way to consume good photography. By removing and eliminating the terrible part of our visual diet, we can work to see better and make better photographs. Sure junk food now and then is ok, but you can’t live on cake alone.
One of the most overlooked skills to develop as a photographer is good note taking habits. Before the wealth of data provided by digital cameras, note taking was essential to understanding your exposure, subject matter and development needs.
Outside the understanding the technical aspects of photography, note taking can also help you to relate and connect with your work in the field. Note taking can help you remember the emotions, feelings, and sensory experiences you were having while taking a photograph. Because photographs lack all the senses outside of seeing, it is easy to forget that smell, texture or taste might compel us to make a photograph. By taking notes, you can help remind yourself of the experience or better yet figure out how to incorporate that experience into your photograph before you click the shutter.
In the end, we all want to make better photographs. Taking notes can help you learn more about your technical and artistic choices faster. You will have a record of why you did what you did and a solid foundation to build from when you can reference what you were thinking at the time.
This is the 200th episode of the podcast. Eva, my australian shepherd, is in the studio today like always. She wanted to remind me that it is the 1400 dogcast. Anyway, dog humor aside, this week’s podcast is about being thankful for connecting with photography. There have been so many people who have influenced my work over the years, and many of them have no idea how much impact they have had. Over the course of the week where I was thinking about those people, I got to thinking about how important photography is in connecting us.
So as we turn into 2019, I hope that you find ways to use your photography to connect with others by sharing, talking about and viewing the work of others. Using your photography not just to work on skills and technique, but rather to find a way to build real connections to people by sharing ideas, stories and feelings in the capture of light.
This week’s podcast starts with a quick rant against people who review photography gear, products, and methods which they haven’t ever used the product. I am amazed at how many people use a product for a few minutes, hours or never use the product and still feel qualified to write a review. If you find people who are writing or speaking about products they don’t use, it might be worth your time to find a different reviewer.
The main topic of this week’s podcast is about the hardest thing in photography. In my work with others and more hours than I care to admit in my introspection, I feel like the hardest thing to do in photography is be authentic without reacting to our insecurities. The willingness to stick to who we are as photographers against a tidal wave of opinions telling us to do or be something else is so hard. We are inundated with people telling us to be something else, photograph something else, or try something new when really what we should be doing is focusing on how amazing the chance to see through the lens and experience more of ourselves photographing things we love. That is the essence of photography. Being amazed by the world around us and finding our connection to the places, people, subjects and emotions. Yet, there is so much noise around us telling us to be something else. The gear we need. Lessons to learn. Things to avoid because others photograph them. Learning to turn off everything that keeps us from being who we are and were meant to be might just be the hardest part of photography.
As the end of the year draws closer, I keep hearing more and more people talk about how tired they are. The holiday season and current state of the world has so many people I know feel like they are burning a very short candle at both ends. This week’s podcast is focused on how we get to the point of exhaustion and some ways to hold, live with and move through the experience. I know in my own practice the regular everyday life events keep me busy. When you compound holidays, the loss of my brother a year ago, ever-changing software to learn, photos to take and so many other parts of my photography to keep on top of, it can be so hard to stay on top of it all.