Why I Love Photography
I've covered how I got into photography; largely an accident after buying a 'fancy' camera to do stop motion animation with clay, but I thought it would make for a good post to cover what I love about taking pictures.
I've been taking pictures my whole life (just like anyone who bought a disposable camera for an excursion or holiday) but it's only been the last 20 months where I've done so with the intention of creating art or documenting a feeling rather than just a visual representation of what was happening within the frame. There's a distinct difference between the two stages, the first is to create a physical memory for nostalgia's sake, birthday candles being blown out or a present being unwrapped (with an automatic camera that would be used twice a year!) and the second to specifically take a picture with the intent to stir up emotion for a large audience or to capture the feel of a place/scenario, or both! When I take a picture now it's me who creates the reality and feel of the image. As any photographer knows there is no one visual reality, we all see colours slightly differently, we see things from slightly different view points (people are different shapes and heights!) and perspectives, at different times and in different lighting. A six and half foot basketball player with colour blindness doesn't see what I see when he looks at a street scene. Okay, so that's a bit extreme for an example but I'm sure you get what I mean!
Capturing the feeling of the moment of the warmth of a smile is the centre of the trade for me.
This is what I love about photography, what I capture is under my control, be it in-camera or with some post processing, from the start I have a good idea of what I want and how I'll go about capturing it, it's my personal freedom with very little in the way of boundaries. There are many that will argue that capturing a scene as naturally as possible is what photography is all about and perhaps I can't do that so I chose to over process or get all 'arty', that's fine, another thing about photography is that it's what you make it (I'm perfectly at home taking natural shots, for the record! ; ).
I'm certainly no expert, who is? , and I don't claim to create perfect pictures (whatever they may be!) but I've taken a good 100,000 shots or more now. I shoot everyday, at least one picture. The first year was definitely about learning the technical side, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and composition which I'd say was the least interesting easiest bit to pick up. Once I felt confident with this I got a bit over zealous and big headed, after all, there's not much else to learn right? Wide aperture means more light and shallower depth of field, long shutter speed means a blurred subject in motion and more light etc etc, i'm champ, i've got it down! Wrong. I've read dozens of magazine, books, articles, tutorials, watched hundreds of videos, spoken to even more togs and completed an Open University course etc, I must have spent many hours learning but one thing there will always be room for improvement in is the foresight required to take a great shot, and I mean GREAT, not just good or acceptable. Sure, all the technical stuff is a definite pre-requisite but once you've got a good understanding of it you can still only capture a bog standard image unless you start considering other factors such as line, shape, form, colour, balance, texture and tone. All of which do tie into the technical side but more so require a good eye. It's an endless circle, one that I love.
This is what intrigues me about photography. There are so many rules yet no rules at all. Once you've learned one thing it's superseded by another only to become more useful once you've bounded over the next hurdle. I'll get to a point where I feel confident and then I'll feel self conscious and look through my galleries only to declare my work as utter rubbish.
Photography is about many things; vision, learning new things, it's about emotion, depth, feeling, being in the right place at the right time, planning to be there, waiting, having patience, it's NOT about your camera! Sure, I'd rather use my current camera than a ten year old 5mp point and shoot, but similarly I'm still at home with my Pentax Super ME or one of my Canon SLRs with the screechy lens that scares ducks. As long as I've got the vision to know what I want, the knowledge of how to take it it doesn't much matter what equipment i use once I've learned the basic technical stuff.
There's a few other things I love about togging. The odd occasion I get out into the countryside to take nature pics, or when I go out to take some street shots or just at home doing some macros, I still get that feeling of being alone with my thoughts. If i'm on my way to work or to somewhere else equally boring the minute I pull my camera out I'm lost in that moment, from the point I see a possible shot to actually taking it. Short of a few frustrating moments it never ceases to amaze me how much I enjoy it, the taking of the picture, the viewing it afterwards, processing and then publishing it online or on print. It still gets me everytime!
Even this simple shot I took for my project 365 at the last minute was enjoyable to take and process