Most photographers, when they are learning about camera gear, learn that the lens controls the perspective. This isn’t exactly accurate; the subject to lens distance determines perspective along with the point of view. However, from a podcast a few weeks ago about fear, I was asked about perspective and meaningful photography. This week’s podcast is about how our perspective and approach to the things we photograph will be a cornerstone for what defines important personal photography.
I don’t know a photographer who sets out to make or take bad photographs. Yet, we all come home with lots and lots of bad pictures. In this week’s podcast, we take a look at the value of the bad photograph. I feel too many photographers don’t take photographs for fear of the bad photo, but you have to respect the photographer that in the face of that fear is willing to pick up the camera and make photos every day. While most of us might want to avoid making them, I argue that there is value in appreciating and making bad photographs.
I have often wondered what people think is the hardest thing to photograph. When I have conversations about this, those conversations more often than not start with some technical aspects of photography. Learning how to use studio lighting, getting in a good location, or finding a unique vantage point are all topics I hear people talk about.
This week’s podcast focuses on what I feel is the hardest thing to photograph. That is the thing that causes us to feel fear or some reason. Maybe it is not photographing people for fear of rejection, or perhaps it is not figuring out what is unique about a location to you, so you end up with a cliched shot. No matter what you photograph, I would venture to say that at some point, you haven’t gotten the shot you wanted because of some fear. The challenge we all face is that in the face of that fear, can we still photograph. My guess is that when you take the risk, you end up with some fantastic photographs.
If you listen to this podcast for very long, you know that it isn’t really about camera gear, but this week I did want to focus on the five most essential pieces of gear you should always have in your camera bag.
Luckily, you can get all of these pieces of gear for little to no money, and many of you might even have them already around the house. The purpose of this equipment is not to add to your physical gear, but rather to shift your mental approach to your photography. Each one of these pieces of gear is about changing your approach to your work so that you can focus on the most favorable results, embrace any opportunity, and find motivation when things fall apart.
In this week’s podcast, we take a look at two important questions that can have a significant impact on your approach to your photography.
The first question deals with our approach to failure. What would you do in your photography if there was no such thing as failure? Do you think if you took a risk, would you see the world in a new way?
The second question focuses on our notion of taking and giving in photography. If you could give one photo to someone, what would it be?
As you will hear in the podcast, most of this week’s work falls on you to think about and answer these questions. How would a failure-free, giving photographic experience look?
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.