Rethinking my photography

August 2, 2010

If you had to breakdown the act of photographing into 3 main arenas, I would say:

  • the equipment & technical ability
  • the environment & photo opportunities
  • the photographer’s creativity & composition making

I know it’s not as tidy as this and I know there’s a lot of overlap but I would still say those are the 3 biggies. In recent times there is a new smaller arena creeping up – post-processing – but its still minor compared to the big 3.

To date I have tried to focus on the creativity part as much as possible. In fact, in a way, I’ve actually rebelled against the other 2 parts.¬† I am very close to someone who invests huge amounts of time, money and energy into equipment, technical ability, and getting to the right places (often fairly exotic -places) at the right times. For sure, they produce some fantastic work, but I’ve often thought that their expensive equipment and expensive destinations make up for any deficiency in their artistic ability. My internal argument was that if you gave anybody the top equipment and put them in front of a breathtaking exotic sunset – crowd-pleasing results will follow.

So, with this axe to grind (albeit often subconsciously), my photography up to now has been based on a “Art First” credo. For my first few months on Flickr I concentrated on limiting my photos to my immediate environment. I titled the best work in these collections “proximity”. You can see them here and here

By forcing myself not to rely on “exotic scenes” I figured I could only rely on artistic ability. The other thing about those pics was that they were all taken on a small ultra-compact Nikon coolpix. Unheard of equipment for my photography contacts on Flickr! Admittedly, the low-tech equipment was not purely for idealistic reasons, affordability was an issue too. But I still do not own a DSLR – I upgraded to a Canon Powershot and that is what I now use.

But my thinking is starting to change. If you look at the very best pics on Flickr or anywhere else ALL 3 areas come into play. An interesting and photogenic scene really does help. And, although I still maintain that for non-print photography you don’t need the very best equipment, I’m finding that my options are limited on my Compact. I want to move to more extreme wide angle photography and I also want to start playing more with “in-camera” Depth of Field” effects.

So here is to a fresh beginning in my photographic life. Getting out more in the hunt for good photos. And getting some better equipment soon too…

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