Find better light and point the camera at more interesting things
Even though I haven’t made a new year’s resolution as such, there are few things I have noticed I should work on by looking my works from last year. I actually shot a lot the entire year and I can clearly see where I went wrong and what I should reinforce. I wrote it all down.
Higher criteria for the light
Now it’s winter and I can’t even begin to describe my frustration over the lighting. The days are short and the weather is ugly. Most of the stuff that I’ve shot during the past autumn and this winter, have been awful. I’m so tired of scanning my negatives and seeing crap images that I’ve shot in bad light. But what can you do, right? I really just want to shoot, no matter what the season is, and I’ve tried to turn the darkness to my advantage (with little success). Non-optimal light ruins everything. Not just the amount of light, but it has to be good light. I’ve made it a requirement for myself. If the light sucks, then I don’t shoot. (Unless I feel like wasting film really bad.) I’ve always said to myself, it’s photography, but for some reason I’ve been neglecting that principle lately.
I really should be more patient, but usually my enthusiasm takes over and I shoot even though I know some of my criteria for the photograph haven’t been met. If my goal is to get more keepers per roll, I really should just slow down even more and pick my shots more carefully.
It may seem like contradictory to say I should shoot more, even though I just said I should shoot less. What I mean, is that I should go shooting more often and while I’m out, trying to pick the shots more carefully, e.g. shooting less. I really want to go out every day and explore and hunt for subjects.
If I fail to shoot less, which is most likely, at least I should try to curate my work more carefully and not post every damn thing I shoot. I really like Instagram ja Flickr. Sometimes I post to some Facebook groups as well. I hate running out of things to post. Sharing my work is really important to me and as soon as I run out of material, I start posting even the crap photos. I really need to be more strict with this policy. Quality over quantity from now on.
John Free said it the best: “Practise, practise, practise”. It never occurred to me that photography is something that you can go out and practise, just like any other skill. In a way, I’ve always thought the same, so it felt really good to hear someone actually saying it and stressing the importance. When I heard that, I was like “yeah, that’s what I think!”
Point your camera at more interesting things
This is the best advice I’ve heard in a long time. It’s so simple, it almost makes me laugh. But it’s also painfully true. I’ve really taken this seriously lately. When I look at my previous photos, are there really anything interesting going on? Sometimes maybe, but looking at the body of work, that I’ve produced, I often seem to misjudge the attractiveness of the subject. Again, it boils down to the hunt for the subject and creating the center of interest. There is so much that is out of the photographers control in this matter, but on the other hand there is just as much control over it. I’ll always try to be ready even when I go out to take out the trash, even though I find it somewhat unlikely, but not impossible, that a subject may emerge just then. I’ll continue to carry my camera even while I take the trash out, but more importantly, I’m going to actually think what’s interesting and steer my projects and even my lifestyle towards those things.
Own the right to take the photo
This also something that I heard recently — owning the right to take the photo. Pretty often I hesitate, because I’m afraid that I’m doing something wrong or someone notices me or whatever. In my mind I have the determination, but I may wuss out. Having the attitude of owning the right, really helps me to stick with my decision.
A photo is an encounter — a surprise. -Marc Riboud