Seeing is everything …

My thoughts probably come over a little muddled here but I will endeavour to put them down none the less. They follow on from comments I read all the time regarding taking photos. Statements like – photography should make you feel something … when you look out there at a scene capture what you see & feel … capture the emotion & atmosphere … allow the scene to speak to you. Hummm what does all that mean – mostly I look out on a scene & either I like it or don’t. I have a difficult time ‘feeling’ or hearing it ‘speak’ to me.

I also often read when we take photos we should take them for ‘us’ not for ‘everyone else’ … we shouldn’t take photos that we think other people will like! Yes well this one I’m comfortable with.

I can’t expand on the feeling – speaking element but will have a go at talking about ‘seeing’ & seeing with a creative perspective. It is of course very subjective/personal – someone standing beside you will look over the exact same vista but conjure up a totally different picture!

Learning to see & see creatively is no doubt a very essential ability to have up ones sleeve. It is possibly the be all & end all to capturing that great & unique image. I guess I’m a little lazy. I – as millions of others – look at a scene think wow what a stunning picture & click away … to me that image could be great however when I look at someone else’s of the same scene or similar theirs looks oh so much better! Why is that? On reflection I surmise I must take more time, walk around what I am trying to photograph & look up & down, sideways, inside out & any which way there is – really ‘look’ at ‘see’ what is in front of me. I don’t have an issue with spotting the difference between a wow, good & not so good image but I do feel I need to learn ‘how to see’ a lot more creatively!

I recently read a quote – one of many I might add – that was included in a course I am presently enrolled in … a quote from Oliver Gagliani – who was an American photographer & master of large format photography, darkroom technique & the zone system.

“You will never make a photograph that everyone likes, so make sure that you like every one of your photographs.”

Hummm a big thought … how much disk space could I reclaim! but yes so true.
What’s the point of taking or holding onto images you do not like!

Putting the old grey matter to some hard core thinking I can come up with a couple of ‘techniques’ that I could begin using – I could ‘learn to see’ in black & white, ‘see’ in a blur, ‘see’ in reverse. I think if I can put all these thoughts into practice maybe just maybe I will improve my awareness of nature & the environment around me & also develop my own unique ‘style’.

On the first technique the works of Ansel Adams come to mind – after all he is -one if not – the master of b&w & the Zone system. Blurring – selectively blurring an image can produce some interesting effects. I have done this in photoshop but have not thought to ‘see in a blur’ to create the blur intentionally in camera. Although that being said I have tried deliberately moving the camera or zooming to produce effects for backgrounds but to do this to produce a lovely piece of art that is a new thought! I have seen many examples of this technique where the photographer has produced some amazing Fine Art work – the course that I am currently undergoing. Seeing in reverse will possibly help me see more … that could be tricky! Then there is the essential element of colour – which colours work together – which add contrast, which arouse emotion or which highlight the atmosphere. Another facet to learning is to look & study other photographers you admire … photographers who make the sort of photos you would like to make. I have a couple of Australian landscape photographers I watch with awe. If I can do half of this it should perhaps help me ‘feel’ & ‘hear’ & soak up the ’emotion’ of the image I am trying to capture … sounds like a plan to me!

I haven’t grown up studying photography but have always had a camera for kids & holiday shots – this digital stuff has made it pretty easy to embrace as a hobby & go that extra step … endeavouring to create that keeper. There is so much to learn on the technical side as well as the practical side … the camera alone has so many smarts to come to grips with … one thing I have learnt & that is just how important it is to know where everything is on my camera & to be able to put my finger on the correct dial at night!

At first I became hooked on taking macros as the little camera I began with was magic for that. However since upgrading my leaning has shifted toward landscape photography I’m at the stage where I’m trying to develop a unique ‘style’ & find a direction to my photography – a unique angle.
I love working my photographs in the digital darkroom often spending hours there doggedly seek to produce that wow print!

I’ve enrolled in a Fine Art course with those thoughts in mind – also to work on my ‘seeing creatively’ learning curve. Words from our tutor :

‘The challenge for you is to photograph not only what you see with your eyes, but also what you feel’.
‘You are free when you are holding your camera, free to capture the world as you see it. Embrace that idea. Start at the surface, move deeper, get closer.
You have choices! Take risks, experiment, break rules, have fun!’
‘When you make photos, you reveal things about yourself. You show the viewer what interests you, what you see and how you see it.
Shoot for yourself!’

Go forth & shoot … :)
The Fine Art course I am enrolled in runs for 4 weeks & is with ppsop