I believe that storytelling is central to humanity. From our earliest days, we have told stories. If you sit in a coffee shop and listen, all people are telling our stories–stories about family, friends, events, and work. At the core of a photograph is also a story. It is the driving element of a need to share something about how we see and understand the world.
In this week’s podcast, I talk about how three key areas of a storytelling event are critical to the story. While not the only aspects of good storytelling, these three elements are what I think are central to helping photographers make better photographs. To really get to the heart of the process, you need to be observational, listen and find the connection to the emotions you are experiencing.
These don’t have to be too earth-shattering notions. They can be as simple as the awe of a beautiful sunset over the beach. What drives a better experience of the photograph is your ability to use these three elements to make your photograph. By understanding your emotional reaction, observations and what you listen to (non-verbal or verbal) will go a long way into making your photographs more interesting–at least to you.
Have you ever taken a look at the names of some of your program and apps that you use to create photographs? Many of those names are all about speed-, insta-, snap- and a host of other quick action words. In Photoshop and Lightroom, we use fast presets and actions to speed up the workflow. Now while I am all for efficiency in workflow, I began to wonder if all the language around our creative tools impact how we view and see our images.
What if Instagram was called meaningful photographs or important photographs? Would we spend more time looking at the work and engaging with the work? Would we think that our photographs are worth more to our own experiences or are they just insta swiped away? I believe that the creative act is sort of like a good wine. It takes time to develop, and once you create the wine, you should take time to enjoy the bottle. Great wine isn’t something that you drink as quickly as possible; it is something that you enjoy and notice all the subtle nuances created by the efforts the grape, barrel, and winemaker. Shouldn’t your photographs get the same appreciation?
Do you ever think about what it might take to make the perfect print? This week’s podcast is about what are some of the non-technical considerations for creating the perfect print or deciding if that is even possible.
When we are working on a photograph one of the most significant challenges is to let go of what we know and learn to see what is in front of us. This focus has us learning to evaluate and see a given image with a more precise set of eyes not bound by our expectations of the future or regrets of the past. In allowing the photograph to be what it is, we can take a step closer to getting a better final image made.
The second consideration is about your printer verse your image. Just like with a camera, the type of printer doesn’t make the image. There are subtle differences between printers that photographer or master printers might notice, but the average person wants to look at amazing photos. They are not concerned with microns and d-max.
The third area that influences the nature of the perfect print is if the process is easy or hard. Just because it is easy to make a really good print doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it. Just like a tough image to print, doesn’t make it a good print. The time spent in the darkroom doesn’t determine the value of the print.
Finally, your perfect print today will likely be a bad print in the future. As you get to be a better photographer and better printer, your photographs will improve in the future. You will see more, get to do more and be better at both your art and craft. Those advances will appear as more perfect prints, but you shouldn’t judge the past with the same eye as your future. We are all doing the best we can to make the best photographs we can.
This week’s podcast comes from looking Ricahrd Zakia’s Perception and Imaging. A few podcasts ago, I talked about the Gestalt approach to learning. From that podcast, I was reminded that Richard’s book also had a full chapter on gestalt and meaning. As I returned to this book, I also found the chapter on Personality interesting. In that chapter Richard talks about a lot of methods to understand personality, but Carl Jung’s approach to personality traits sort of stood out.
I thought it was interesting to see how Jung’s model of sensing, feeling, thinking and intuiting could be applied to how we see and understand images. So this week, we dive into how, if at all, your personality traits as defined by Jung might impact and influence your photography. Jung’s work offers more than just a right and left brain approach, the various models by which we understand certain aspects of personality can give us insights into a better understanding of how we relate to the world.
This week’s podcast is a mash-up of topics that I was pondering as I worked on the flower beds around the studio. To extend the creative space to the outside the studio, I have been working with Lori to plant some cool plants to support the creative energy I want on the inside.
As I was working in the garden, I got to thinking random thoughts and how they relate to photography. The first was how sports betting sets odds to determine how betting is done. The house attempts to make sure that all bets are placed evenly, so they don’t lose a bunch of money. But, it got me thinking about how to bet on my images when I take them and process them. What odds would I give every shot that it would be a good photograph?
The second thing I was pondering is what is it about the new box smell of a camera that jumpstarts our creativity.
Finally, do you think that there is a right way to order pizza? Is Chicago style or New York style the right and correct type of pizza? Is there a right or correct photograph or just a different way to arrange the ingredients?
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