I take photographs for me. Not for anyone else, if someone happens to like my photography then that's both fantastic and extremely rewarding, but it's not all important. Here's a couple that I uploaded to Leica Fotografie International Magazine. They're included in one of their galleries as an example of excellence. Someone must have liked them, the one of my daughter has a huge fault; I didn't focus on the nearest eye to the camera, nevertheless I still liked it. There's a point to this coming up next.
This may seem like a rant, it really isn't meant to be, rather the intention is purely to express my point of view. It may help some and annoy others -
There are many who suffer from so called photographers block and I advise "just keep shooting". Easier said than done the say. Often block isn't the issue, there's something other than that going on in the photographers mind. They're concerned that the work they produce isn't good enough or there's the inability to choose a photo to upload. It must be because they're not taking shots for themselves, more concerned with what others are producing or their peers might think. Worse, they are obsessed with "likes" on social media and judge themselves harshly because they "only got 5 likes", no need to worry though because a bit of "schmoozing" and before you can say "Instagram, 500px, Flickr" they'll be recieving 500 "likes", but predictably that won't be enough...why didn't it get 1,000? "Something's wrong with my photography" they cry. They may have entered a competition and got rejected by the curators - "It's fixed!" they exclaim. No it isn't and it's no big deal, your own vision of the perfect photograph isn't going to match that of a particular curator. If it wins then don't conclude that you're the best photographer ever, unfortunately that's no big deal either. Photography isn't art, nor are photographers artists, that would be very pretentious, pompous even. Come to terms with all of this and your photographers block will vanish in a "puff", just like one of those old 19th century flashes. I'm not knocking Social Media by the way, it serves a purpose. Though I think, and I include myself here, that we can become slaves to it, time better spent developing our own style perhaps. I've just had a 10 day break from Facebook, I strongly recommend it.
My own photographic path is slightly blocked at the moment. Time is the problem, or finding some to be specific, another reason for my recent Facebook hiatus. All I can do is shoot what I see (currently dogs and children!) when the opportunity arises. We have a new arrival to the family, a puppy. She's another Working Cocker Spaniel, my grandfather would have called her a "Sooner". "What breed is that?" you'd ask. "Sooner crap indoors than out!" would be his reply. I can attest to that! What with the children and our other dog it's absolute chaos. Endless photo opportunities you might think, well, how many puppy/dog photos would you say is enough!
This is what I enjoy about writing this blog, I wouldn't post most of the photos anywhere else. They're shot for me and I wouldn't expect anyone else to appreciate them (unless they happen to like puppies!). I also have the opportunity to post in a series rather than one off's. If you're photographing a wedding then you're creating a series, portraiture to a certain extent is the same. There will always be standout photos, but they are essentially part of a series, there's a strand that connects them. A few next from a walk with my youngest son. How many shots of my children is enough?!
I'm longing to start the motorbike, pick a destination and click away, but I can't. I'd like to shoot some Street, but I'm not getting myself anywhere near a street. Besides what is the Street Photography genre, it's just a name, what we're really doing is documenting life. In fact it's just photography and the process is similar whatever the subject matter; look for a feeling or gesture, frame it, adjust our exposure to the desired mood and release the shutter. All I can do at the moment is carry on refining my technique, practicing, looking at composition. It's interesting that the more you shoot the less you need to crop. You intuitively look for light and see in frames...practice is a good thing, as is shooting anything that you happen to be near. A series or theme is ideal, but...
Ok, I contradicted myself there and let's face it my ramblings are just that, random on occasion! I mostly sit down to write this blog with a very basic idea of what I want to say, more often than not it changes as I type. Lets finish up with a few from this mornings walk. I like them, yes it my children again and one of the dogs appears, but...
So, a lot of buts at the end (no sniggering please!), the but is that I'm shooting for me. What I like. I can only see that as a way to develop as a photographer. My last shot is, well, different. It's out of focus, not 100%, there's all sorts wrong and yet I like it. The feeling I had at that moment is conveyed perfectly, my thoughts were about how ethereal life can be. Moments we must savour, because there's little else that'll make any sense come the end...
As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with a Summicron 35mm or 50mm Noctilux lens fitted.