Sometimes I cannot quite get my head around how some photographers are so focused on the technical side of photography that the artistic side takes on the taboo in their eyes. Photography is such a personal medium, no matter what genre you are shooting, as each image you take is your presentation of the scene, a presentation of what you saw at felt at that moment.
A technically good image is just that. It may have a great subject in the frame, but if that is all that the image is presenting, what about it is going to make someone stay viewing it for a longer period of time than one that creates the viewer for feel some emotion, and therefore connection to the image?
If i’m in any particular mood, I can guarantee that my feelings will present their way into my image. How could it not? How you feel about your subject, the scene you are photographing and the such determines the story you are showing and how you show it. Look at any photographer that has a particular passion towards their subject – their images of that subject will probably be much more powerful than that of another subject as the photographer’s feelings for the subject will affect how the final image will look.
Each image that you take shows the viewer a side of ‘you’ and people either connect with it or not. It’s like music – there might be a song that you just get and you will listen to it on repeat, but there will be others that you skip over within seconds. It does not mean that that song is terrible, it just doesn’t speak to you or have any emotional significance to you.
I have been on a safari where we stopped at a sighting and while giving photo tips and ideas on what was in front of us, my guest said “Well on a safari I went on with wildlife photographer “insert name here”, “insert gender” told me that I should only shoot birds at such and such a speed and I can never have two animals in a frame” and so on. This is when my face goes blank and I cannot help but just look at the person. How can someone tell you what to do in photography?
Yes there are ‘rules’ and guidelines, but these are not set in stone and if followed rigidly, I am pretty sure (make that 100% sure) that it will stifle your photographic growth as you have built a barrier between yourself and the immense possibilities of exploring and growing! You are following the vision of someone else, you are creating and developing your images through their rules and conventions.
How is that right? How can any image you take then accurately represent YOUR interpretation of the scene, how you feel about it when you are conforming to another’s?
Break away right now!
Don’t be scared to try and fail, to explore new ways of portraying your subject, creating an image that has nothing to do with what your brain tells you but rather what your emotions and personal vision dictates. There will be someone out there who gets it, appreciates what you have taken and shared as it resonates as highly with them as it did with you. And even if there isn’t, who actually cares? If you are taking photos to appease the mass, I am afraid to say that this will never happen.
We are emotional beings. Tap into that and you will find a connection not only with the viewer to your image, but with you and your work. What is more satisfying and rewarding than being able to capture an image as you envisioned?
Photography is a powerful medium that opens the doors to a multitude of possibilities on how you capture the world around you and how you choose to present it as a final product. It is after all your memory, and photography is just the tool to preserve it and keep it with you for whenever you want to go back there.