I love what I do and have always photographed views that please me. I don’t always just shoot the obvious either but experiment with my images and try many different styles and locations for my photography. Some are extremely satisfying to me and some not so but I still enjoy the ‘learning’. After all, how do you know until you try it? I have the same ethos with anything in life ( I draw the line at some of lifes experiences I aint going there so dont ask ha ha) but when out with my camera, I have a rule that I only ever press the shutter when I think it’s right, in my opinion that is. The only occasions that don’t allow me that degree of freedom of choosing subject matter, are on commissions when shooting to a brief. I still like those too and not just because I am being paid but pleased that someone trusts me to do the job for them. Very satisfying and rewarding.
The landscape is my greatest love though. Ever since I can recall, it has always been ‘the bigger view’ that has appealed to me and I can literally stand on a high point and watch the light perform for as long as it will allow. I say ‘it’ because ‘the photographer’ kicks in saying, ‘better take some snaps.’ I am grateful to be able to do that. I find it very personal and cathartic. I know others may be witnessing the same as me at that time but obviously only I view and digest how I perceive and view it. Sometimes it will have me in raptures as the landscape changes with every light passage and whilst not in a trance, I will be rendered in awe and watch as much as I can. Obviously if all I did was observe, I wouldn’t get anything done ha ha!
No two situations are ever the same. It maybe that the location is but the view won’t be.
The light, the water level, the clouds, the seasons will be different and therefore so will the photograph. Another mood will be created and I will shoot it.
If it pleases me.
Then I ‘click’ and am happy. I do it for me not for anyone else but for me. As satisfying as that maybe, the biggest compliment is bestowed when strangers and the industry engage and love what I do. That is humbling.
I regularly use Social Media and I am aware of its advantages and pitfalls. From a professional perspective it allows me to be seen by a much larger audience and I have also made some great friends as a result of it. Like anything where there are groups of like minded people, there are always areas of common ground jostling for position alongside those that aren’t so appealing. Networking can have great benefits and away from my own sphere of interest, I have seen it produce some astonishing results where information can be passed so quickly in ways we would never have imagined. It has its place in the world now and can generate conversations and engagements on literally anything that is newsworthy, quirky or vital. Some good, some bad. We are lucky to be able to have this platform and share our opinions. We all have them with a voice to match. Choices and decisions.
I reiterate that my real reason for being ‘on there’ is for photography.
There is a kaleidoscope of work to be seen. Every genre and way of working is put before you and it helps to know what is out there. It can be viewed as an ‘odd place’ where relative strangers engage virtually, sometimes for years without ever meeting. Some do become good friends where as others and I am glad it is a minority are simply there to be controversial and provocative. I am all for constructive comment but some and this is the ‘nasty side,’ are there because THEY are faceless and hide behind the screen. Fortunately I dont see those in the TOG community.
The only time I was ‘targeted’ was when I won the Sunday Times award and the ‘great unwashed’ levelled their anti photography spleen against me. Their accusations that the rainbow was dropped on and that the man in the red jacket was also from another image just show how ignorant people can be of ‘real’ photography.
Debate and comment are always welcome, constructive that is and of course with photography, there is no right and wrong. There is no doubt that some images look and work better than others but thats just my opinion.
Sometimes, a photographer will post an image they have taken where they have denigrated, all but apologised for taking the snap by calling it a ‘cliche’. In other words it is a usual scene that has been taken many times.
The inference being that they are better than that but ‘hey it was all there was.’ If thats the case then don’t post it. It is a shame because the view they have posted is still a lovely image. It may not be what you wanted to shoot that day or is not as creative as weather circumstances allowed but you made a good job of it. I assume they see that so who are they trying to appeal too?
I have always told people on my workshops that when they go off into the big world out there that they should literally shoot whatever pleases them. If it makes them happy then do it. It is theirs no matter how many times that view may have been taken. Yes they will see other photographers experiment with images and try different things. There is nothing wrong with that at all. I applaud what they do and the want to expand their knowledge and create. That is admirable. It is how we develop and I advocate that people try as many different ways to look at and approach their own photography.
Two things I will say though and stand by, never apologise for what you do and like. More importantly enjoy it.
Tis a great way to take in the wonderful landscapes.
Here comes summer!