As you think about your approach to photography, there are only a couple of factors that come into play. At its most basic level, photography is light and time.
In this week’s podcast, I talk about how our approach to time can have huge impacts on how we create and view our photographs. Behind the camera, time is one way we bound the frame. We might limit time to fractions of a second, or we can extend it for days, weeks or months. However, what is it about time not behind that camera that causes such dramatic changes in our approach to photography.
It doesn’t matter if you are making your art for art sake, to learn to live or some other reason. How you find ways to extend, step out of time and return to times that matter are foundational in your approach to your work. In my process, I find that how ideas are found and lost, my approach to living with a print and the speed at which I feel I need to work all have impacts on my work. I hope that in the podcast, you find a way to think about your approach to time and how to get the most out of it.
I have been in several conversations over the past few weeks about the impacts of fear in our lives. It doesn’t matter if you are talking politics, art or families, fear can show up in many ways.
As I got to thinking about how fear shows up in my work and what is at the root of my fear, I realized that in my creative life and photography I could work from the limits of fear or lean into abundance. This week’s podcast is about how fear can show up in our work and the value of focusing more on the wealth that comes from our creative wells.
I was asked recently to help a friend understand how to use depth of field on a new camera. They had always been using an iPhone and just wanted to know how to use that feature of their camera.
The idea of depth stuck in my head as a critical aspect of the photograph from the depth and illusion created by the paper to the emotional connection to the work. There are always layers and depths to a photograph. In this week’s podcast, we talk about three key elements to depth in photography.
First, I discuss the impact of matte versus glossy papers and how they can shift our focus from the photograph as an object to the subject as a focus in print. Second, I talk about how emotional depth allows us to connect to work in a more meaningful way. Finally, I focus on how we can create more depth in our community by avoiding common critique traps and focusing on real relationships with people that can help move our work forward.
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.