On Photography

An amateur photographer indulges in his passion. The Arboretum, Nottingham, approx 1980.

Photography is a wonderful hobby. it spins you in new directions and makes the blood flow. Kneeling down on the path to get a better angle – I hope he also got the shot he wanted.

As a schoolboy I loved to look through magazines such as “Amateur Photographer” and “Practical Photography”, here I could fantasize about the cameras and lenses I could not afford to buy. I was still reading the magazines when I started the photo course at Trent Polytechnic but soon realized that I needed to leave them behind.

On the course I discovered great photographers who recorded life around them, not too different from what I had done in St. Helens, but they were braver and went further to document all the human condition and the wider world.

In the 1970s much of the image content of the amateur magazines was pretty poor, there seemed to be a cycle of middle aged men photographing young women in uncomfortable poses, misty landscapes, windmills and fishing boats. These days (with YouTube etc)  there seems to be a similar formulaic series of images amateurs feel they have to cover, the accepted subjects, the rocks sharp among blurred water, the latest “fad” look to an image.

Not everyone can go on a 3 year photographic course and learn the history of photography though and I know I was privileged to do so. If I have a message in my workshops it is this:

Don’t photograph to please other people.

Photograph things you are passionate about and be sensitive to the subject.

Be prepared to discover a deeper sense of who you are by reflecting on your work.

If you can look at a photograph you have taken and find yourself surprised that you have captured something true and meaningful then know that there is no greater achievement.

All else follows.

 

Image workflow workshop information on my business site: copyrightimage.com

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