Wednesday, 17 December 2014


The background of my brain is often working on figuring things out and for a while now.... a couple of years certainly, it's been trying to figure out how I feel about my photography.  And also a bit about my art.

I got most of the way through a 365 art thing this year and did an ink drawing a day in October and parts of November, and I'm doing an ink drawing a day again for December.  And I'm trying to figure out what kind of photography I ... most want to pursue... or fall naturally towards or how to improve it or where I want to go with it or do with it and what does it all mean anyway sort of general unease.

The ink drawings I'm doing right now (sixteen or so days in) have been a single line drawing.  No real reason, I just started playing with the idea of not lifting the pen off the paper and the result was cool and I figured why not go with it for the month.

And then Saturday night I added some watercolour to the drawing I'd done and while it didn't quite work the way I'd envisioned, it was a cool experiment and a good starting point and it didn't bother me too much because I hadn't been that invested in the result anyway.

Which, I realized with a bit of a mental thud, is very different from how I'm approaching my photography right now.

With my photos?  I want them to be good.  At least good, I'd be happier if they were amazing or great but I want them to be good... and I get disheartened when I don't feel they are.

Whereas with the art I've done this last fifteen or so days, I haven't cared if it's good, I've just been playing around and trying to keep up with the challenge of doing some drawing every day.

It feels different, and it's not making me unhappy, so I'm trying to figure out if/how I can apply that to my photography.

Part of it is that I feel it's much easier to play around and experiment with pen and paper or other media than I feel it is with a digital camera.  I mean... what am I supposed to "experiement" with?  Making things blurry?  Dark?  Light?  Angles?  Doing weird editing?  I don't know...

Maybe I should make myself a very odd assignment for the rest of the month... like... a photo a day that's edited to look purposely fake.  Remembering that by "editing" I don't mean photoshop (I don't own photoshop or know how to use it) I just mean, make it too dark or purple or.... sideways or something, I don't even know what I mean... and maybe if I just get used to posting photos (that's part of the art thing, I'm sharing them, although not sure anyone's actually looking) that I "know" aren't good it might help?  Somehow?

But there's the part of me that remembers the conversations I've had with Jason about how as a professional photographer, he's very selective about what he puts out there, only his best work goes out. 

I'm not a pro.  I don't even know if I can call myself anything other than someone who likes to take photos for fun (it makes me cringe when Jason suggests I'm a "hobbyist") so do I care if I put out things that aren't "my best"?  Should I?

I don't know...

There's just something for me to look at and figure out about the difference between feeling stuck in my photography right now and feeling free in my art.

I'd like to find a way to take that free feeling into my photography.

Even if that only makes sense to me.


Mom of 3 said...

Like you, I'm a photographer who takes photos only for personal use and I don't get paid. I too would resist the term "hobbyist."

To help with assignments, you could go to a site like that gives you monthly prompts.

There are bloggers who take photos every single day. Not me. Sigh. But I'd like to! Just using your camera more often - like daily - will make you a better photographer. Make that a resolution for me in 2015? Maybe.

Elliott said...

Since you're having fun experimenting with art in other media and learning new things, maybe playing around with an editing program will give you same feeling with your photography?

I think earning a living in an artistic field forces you to ensure only your best is out there. If this is something that is supposed to be fun, it should be fun (I know, kinda obvious). I think this is like your poetry...if you're comfortable posting, go for it. Some people will look, some will like it, some won't like long as the benefit to you in good feelings and nice comments outweighs the negatives (damn trolls), go for it.

I think you're very talented and I enjoy your writings and enjoy your photos.

Jason Langlois said...

Just some thoughts, based on my experience fooling with cameras.

I think you experiment with changing settings - shutter speed, f-stop, ISO, etc. How does the picture look with different depth of field, what happened to the contrast if the shutter is faster or slower. How can I get a crisper shot, or duplicate an effect I like.

But you can also experiment with the framing, too. If you move the subject into a corner of the frame, how does that change the shot. What does the picture feel like if it occupies 2/3rds of the frame, instead of 1/3rd, or all of it.

And experiment with subject. Shoot action, or still life. Shooting people is different from shooting animals, too. Heck, shooting a burlesque performance is different from a wedding, or from a sporting event, from a boudoir piece from a family portrait... so try different things.

If you have the editing tools that will allow it, take a picture you like and thump down the "rule of thirds" grid and see what that shows you. Or do some Golden Ration analysis. Compare that to a picture you don't like, and see what's different. Play around with cropping, to see if you can take one you don't like and make it one you do like. Even do some edits to see what it takes to make a shot you like, then experiment with the camera to figure out how to do that in the moment, rather than in post.

Heck, take a picture you like someone else shot, and toss it into the same tools. See what they did, then try and duplicate it or make it your own.

And practice. Because with practice, all the mechanical details become second nature, sort of like with driving, and then you can start to enjoy the ride.

(at least, that's my experience)


And share more pictures with us, because you take good pictures.

Victoria said...

Mom of 3, I've done the 365 a few times and took this year off, but it's a good way to push and improve for sure! Not sure about it for 2015, we'll see ;)

E, right now I only have Aperture as an editing program which Apple is no longer going to update, so I'm figuring out what to switch to... but yeah, a ton to learn in them, I've really only ever done the very basics!

Yep, all good ideas Jason :)