The history of photography, and in particular photographic processes, is fascinating. It tells the story of how photography was democratised. If you want to know how we got to where we are today then you need to look back at the history and the evolution of photographic processes. The George Eastman House has produced a wonderful twelve part Photographic Processes Series that tells this story by tracing the history of the photographic process from the camera obscura through to digital photography.
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.
When you hear some great photographers speak they try to make photography sound like this mystical, magical art form. If you ask Garry Winogrand photography is just photography, he doesn’t try to talk up photography like it’s something magical, he doesn’t get deeply philosophical much to the frustration of some in the video. I love how down to earth and hilariously irreverent Garry Winogrand is in this video, he is a no BS kinda guy and I like that about him.
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?