While reading ‘The Art of Photography’ from Bruce Barnbaum I was forced to think once again at two aspects that have always intrigued me: what does each photographer like to capture and how each of us reacts to our own interests in order to take the picture.
This process started my personal self analysis extended to my own experience and I think I understood just a bit more the Secret of Photography.
I forced my memory to go five or six years back in time when I first joined a photoclub. At that time I considered myself more a kind of street photographer while my new photo-friends were mainly experts and talented landscape photographers. Of course there were exceptions but most of them are well known naturalistic semi-professionals and expert amateurs.
Secret 1 : What do you like to capture?
In the process of taking a photo, there is something that happens and is very deep: we react to what we see, point the camera and shoot. The result is something unique: the more you feel it being ‘your photo’ the better this process has gone.
I am deeply convinced that the fact that some of us like shooting landscapes while others choose, as an example, to capture people or buildings or portraits, is not random: it is rather the result of external elements (the place we live in, the people we meet… ) and internal factors (how we have elaborated the education we received, how family experiences have changed us, the status of our mood, were our hobbies bring us, active or passive approach….).
Tuscan photographers are known for their green sweet landscapes while the majority of the pictures projected in a photo-club of a big city will have the city streets as main subject as well as maybe glamour, fashion, commercial or other genre. Try it yourself with google and search for Turin photographers. And yes Turin , or Torino, is my hometown: a rather big city in the North of Italy while Tuscany is where my home is now, when I am not in Saudi of course!
Secret 2: How do you react to your interest?
How do we move to action and, pushed by our interests, we eventually make the picture. How we react and make the picture dictates the difference between just another photo and our own personal masterpiece.
I am talking about a mix of technic, creativity, purpose and overall vision that the photographer must have developed and have it ready in order to express that compelling vision that is in front of him at that specific time.
Secret 3: How do we become better photographers
To improve in whatever the field there is one sure way: hard work.
I personally work on the two previous secrets and keep on asking myself:
- Today, what do I want to photograph, what am I truly interested in ?
- What is my reaction to that interest and how can I convey my reaction?
I learned to ask myself these questions systematically as soon as I grab the camera and step out of my home: today what do I want from my pictures? I ask the questions again once I am in front of my interest: what is striking me, how technically can I render my emotions?
And when everything else fails… I just go and buy a new lens ! (I am joking!).
Let me know your thoughts: how do YOU do to improve your pictures, have more fun, feel happy ?!