Why I chose photography; part 1

Why? Because…

I have decided to write a few blurbs now and again to educate, rant, and to tell a story on the photographs. But until now I have never personalized the rantings to tell you all why it is that I have wondered down this path. So now, I think I shall. I am not sure if it will be any sort of beacon in the mass media of stories about such a topic, all I can hope for is that it makes some sort of sense to someone, somewhere. There are a lot of people who make grand statements that they are entering the photographic world after purchasing a digital camera. Then in all reality never get off the ground, except to their friends and family. This creates a problematic culture for talented photographers to enter into the business; there is a lot of noise that must first be overcome. So that you can be separated from camera owners, and defined as a photographer.

So, what is a photographer?

If you were to consult Merriam Webster dictionary it would be listed as “one who practices photography; especially :  one who makes a business of taking photographs” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/photographer accessed: 2/4/2014). If you were to consult Ansel Adams’s writings you would find a passage on how a photographer is a camera technician first and an artist second. Implying the concept that one needs to know their equipment thoroughly to be able to put it to work in the most efficient means. I subscribe to this this school of thought. I feel that in the process one must be a student of the camera. Learning the general principals, and then how they are applied when capturing exposures. Dark room experience is one of the best things for someone to know when entering the field. Not only must you carefully weigh out your exposures in the camera, but you have no way of instant gratification. This will cause you to think, think, and think some more. Especially when you are out re-shooting a roll because of a compositional failure.

It is not about selecting the best…DSC_7056

If you are reviewing your images and making your selections on what image to print based on the fact that it is the best of the bunch is a compromise. There can be no room for compromising in this field. If you cannot capture the image you want then one of two things have happened. You failed by not possessing the knowledge and skills to capture the image you wanted, and thus you need to study more. Or, you were in a situation where you could not control the factors that caused the image to be “imperfect”. Such as when the sun dose not light the clouds as you would like. Then you are forced to make the best of the situation and then pick the best. In this event goals and exasperations should always be dynamic, but always return for what you were seeking originally.

The art is a science…

For the best results you must realize that the art itself is based on scientific principals, and for your creativity to be set loose you need to have a knowledge of the underling principals. Light, optics, time, space, angles all play a role. Why dose the DOF get longer as the aperture gets smaller? Why dose a longer shutter speed have a blur? What is panchromatic film? Why dose my flash only allow the camera to go up to 1/250th of a second? and other such questions. I have always been one with an interest in the sciences. I have tried my hand at drawing, the result of which I swear that somewhere a small child spontaneously ceased to be alive. It was a horrible product. I therefore have remained to keep my hand stayed to a drafting board and when I stray to only produce stick figures. When I read threw study manuals, and books I keep a strong focus on the science behind the operation of the camera. This leads me to be able to produce the images I see, but to also

The science is an art…

As I photograph over the years there develops a feeling of the camera, and an instinctual feeling on what I need to do. It is a craft, a trade. One that when passion is applied to it the scientific principles become more of creative medium. I like to capture the scene as I see it. Realism would be my preferred methodology, now and again I delve into the abstract. It takes a creative side to find a new view of something, especially if that is a common sight. I dislike what I call “postcard” photos. They are boxed, plentiful, and typically a strait on approach to the subject. Lighthouses, and landmarks are the most which are victimized by this. There they are, usually dead centre and lit as you would find them at 3 o’clock on almost any given afternoon. I have climbed down a cliff once to get a different view of a lighthouse, one that I am sure not many have obtained before (Owl’s Head light, Maine; pictured left). I like to share my viewpoint with the world and that by essence is why I have chosen to be a photographer. when I see something which I consider to be aesthetic, I look for another angle.

So…

Aside from entering a treacherous career, I feel that applying my talents in this medium will be to the better benefit of all. Regardless of how long it will take for success. In this field you are always truly a student of the camera.

 

JC

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