Diane Seddon LRPS - A Photographer based in North Lincolnshire
I was stood in a shop the other day, looking at the pictures they had for sale in there. Some were paintings, some craft, and some photography. The photographs were pleasing images of the Lincolnshire wolds - woodlands, landscapes, and also beach scenes.
A lady stood next to me, humphed slightly, and announced in fairly loud tones, that the photographs were easy - anyone could take them, and she didn’t see quite why they were even for sale, never mind at the price asked.
Part of me wanted to get involved in a conversation, but in the end, she walked away, and I continued to stand and stare, and wondered why people think photography is so easy.
Part of the issue is the preponderance of images that are available on the internet, and on Facebook - mostly I see very poor ones (I’ve talked about this before) - but mainly it’s the idea, or assumption that the creation of a good photograph is easy, and takes little or no skill to create, but merely the good luck to be there at the right time. People assume that the glass and body of the camera has all the cleverness built in, and tend not to think that actual talent is needed to make an image the way it is. They think that anyone who can see, with or without glasses, can make the same picture.
The assumption is that photographs can be made without the interference of vision, craft, dedication, repetition or talent of the photographer.
People think that because they own a camera, they are photographers. It’s surely the same principle of - “I bought a new oven, therefore I am a chef”. I see it all the time, the new camera owners who instantly think they can make money from their ‘art’. They don’t need to learn all the nuances of photography - they can put the camera on the green square - full auto, and wonderful pictures will spill out - which they can then overprocess (because they don’t know when to stop, and after all, a great coloured filter will really enhance the image)….
Did they really think that Ansel Adams got great images of Yosemite every time he got his camera out? Did they really think that Edward Weston’s Pepper number 30 came first time….. no - the clue is in the title…. Pepper number 30 - which means that there were at least 29 others that came before that… and who knows how many afterwards. It means that Weston at least thought that number 30 was the best at that time.
So when I see images on line with wails from photographers who say, I shot this and no-one has commented… but when I do something different people do….. then I say - there might be a reason. Maybe your talent doesn’t lie in that direction, and maybe you go back to what you are good at. Or maybe the shot, though competent, has no soul.
A portrait of a model sat on a wall, can be just that, a person sat on a wall. There’s no story, no soul, no romance….. NO INTENT.
I’ve always found that planned shoots, with a visualised end are successful. Those times when I wander out with no idea what to do, usually result in a lot of deleted images (but hey, I had the day out and enjoyed company maybe, or just the good weather).
Ansel Adams reckoned that your first 10,000 pictures are just practice, and you get better after that….. so I’d better get the camera out again……
Enjoy your shooting
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