Books have helped me improve my photography more than any gear has. This is a story about how books have helped me improve my photography.
“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
– Ansel Adams
This is one of the best videos I have seen for a long while. The idea that Chase raises is that the best ideas and inspiration come from outside of the photography industry. Chase is dead right.
A painter starts with a blank canvas and paints a scene with their brushes and paints. An author starts out with a blank page and writes a scene with their pen and paper or computer. A photographer starts out with a complete scene, the photographer’s job is to put a frame around that scene and make a photo with the camera to give a sense of order and meaning to what they see. Or do photographers simply just take a photo of what they see?
‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it.’
– Ansel Adams
Is there a difference between ‘taking’ and ‘making’ a photo? Indeed there is. I have thought a lot about taking photos and making photos, this is my conclusion.
It’s hard to conflate photography and videography but that’s what it feels like Elephant Gun’s Khalik Allah tries in his “Urban Rashomon” documentary. If you pause the film at any time that frame could stand on it’s own and be a great photograph.
Photography is, amongst other things, about learning, and over the 13 years that I have been shooting I have learned a lot about photography. Most of the things I have learned I have learned in the last year since I have gotten more serious about my photography. Learning is also the main reason I started this blog, to share what I have learned about photography.
One thing that I have learned… is a series about things that I have learned about photography or through photography. This first post in the series is about Only showing your best photos.
What’s the most important thing for a photographer to have besides a camera? It’s something that you need more than gear, more than the best camera, more than knowledge and know how. It’s something that the best photographers had/have loads of. Without it your photos are destined to be mediocre snap shots at best. It can be found (and lost, and found again) everywhere in anything and at any time, yet it can still remain illusive. It’s inspiration.
“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” – Man Ray
Motivation isn’t inspiration. A lot of people confuse motivation with inspiration which is easy to do, the English language can be a confusing and terribly tricky thing sometimes.
Motivation is encouragement to do something you don’t want to do.
Inspiration is encouragement to do something you do want to do.
We need to be motivated to do things like go to work. If we don’t go to work we won’t get paid, if we don’t get paid we can’t afford to pay the rent or mortgage, we won’t be able to afford to eat and survive or participate in things we enjoy. Photography motivates us to go to work so that we can pay the rent or mortgage, so that we can eat, so that we can survive, and most importantly pursue our passion.
Inspiration is what we need when we want to do something but don’t know where to start. But where do you get that inspiration from?