Are you validating the wrong things?

Are you validating the wrong things?

I was recently having a gear conversation with a friend who was asking me to validate a decision they make on a new camera purchase. They wanted me to tell them that with that new camera they were going to be able to take the photographs they always wanted. I just couldn’t do that. Anyone who has listened to this podcast for a while knows that it isn’t the gear that makes the photo.
So this week’s podcast is all about the validation of our decision-making process and how it can impact our work. I encourage you to think about when and why you ask for validation of your work and creativity. Is it because you have already made a decision and you want someone to agree with you? At times, we all need to have our work validated and supported, but that is different from the need to have a decision you already made, and believe to be true, agreed with. That isn’t validation; it is something else. This week we focus on how focusing on validation for agreement sake isn’t always the best use of our time in our photography.

Are you validating the wrong things?

Your mental approach is everything

I am always bothered when I hear people say that you are too optimistic, or you’re wearing rose-colored glasses. My response to them is always the same. Your damn right, I am. The outlook you have on life, and your creativity is the most significant decision you can make.

Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t worry, fret, or get stressed at times, but when that happens, I work to get back to a place where I can focus all that is good and great. I often hear photographers worry about new gear, software, techniques, or locations they would like to go. When they don’t have what they want, it is a problem for them. In this week’s podcast, we take al look at how that approach can be a huge block that leads to apathy in your work. As we dive into the topic, we talk about how a shift to positivity and excitement can do more for your creative life than any issue you imagine that you need to overcome to finally get the click you wanted.

Are you validating the wrong things?

Do you ever feel like you are on a hot streak?

I have several friends who like to gamble. Poker and blackjack for the most part. When they are playing, they always talk about being on a hot streak or a cold streak. When it is good, things are hot, and the universe seems to give them the cards they need. When it is bad, well, it is bad.
I think many of us approach our photography in the same way. We remove the focus, effort, energy, and vision to an external source calling it a hot streak or luck. Luck is something that we see as a way of explaining a variety of events that are good or bad, where we seem to have no choice in the outcome. In this week’s podcast, we take a look at the idea of a hot streak and what it means to do meaningful work. Work that is personal and driven by our vision rather than by some hand of the universe, giving us the power to see.

Are you validating the wrong things?

Do all photographs have to tell a story?

I have a quote from Gary Winogrand that says all photographs make a new fact. As I looked back on that quote, it got me thinking about how much narratives and storytelling come into photography. Anyone who has been introduced into photography in the last few years have been hit with the importance of storytelling and narratives in photographs.
In this week’s podcast, we take a look at the importance of narratives in photography and discuss how direct storytelling in a photograph might not be practical or even possible. As we consider the various options for storytelling, I encourage you to go back into your work and see where you might benefit from taking a different approach to your storytelling. See if you end up with a better overall photograph when you shift your approach. You might find that even if it is just a pretty composition with the write supporting context, something more important emerges.

Are you validating the wrong things?

Traffic roundabouts and intentions in photography

I love being able to drive on a roundabout. If they are well designed, they make the traffic flow so much better, but if you haven’t ever driven on one, knowing what lane to be in can be problematic and stressful. As I was recently driving through a local roundabout, it reminded me of a question I am often asked. That question is, where do I point the camera to make a good photograph?

Part of pointing the camera is knowing what you like to see and understand in the world, and part of it is knowing what subjects/subject matter have stories to tell. Photography is about both. If you are only showing your version as a photographer, you are missing the point. The best images tell a story, and I make the argument in this week’s podcast that it should first and foremost be the story of the subject/subject matter. As a photographer, it is our job to tell that story the best way we can. So light, tones, color, and all the photography things are applied to ensure that the scene in front of the camera gets to shine. If the photograph is all about the photographer, that experience for the subject and ultimately the photo will be drastically different.

As you listen to the podcast, I encourage you to think about whose story you are telling and why. I encourage you to try to think of your work with the camera as more collaborative rather than an I story you want to tell.

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