One of the things that happened when I first started using a camera to explore the world was that I started to become more aware of what was around me. Initially, this was only on a conscious level. Gradually, over time I trained my eye to seek out things that which others would walk straight by. This now happens on a subconscious level.
Coupled with this is my sense of humour, so that when I was walking along a pier and saw these boots, awareness & humour combined to form a memorable image for me.
This is one of the wonderful things in life. We each have our own personal vision of the world. Our personal vision is shaped by our environment, our beliefs and influences.
In picking up a camera, a paintbrush, a pencil, clay or other artistic media we can express, through our imagination that which others cannot, i.e. our personal view of this world.
Awareness, personal vision and imagination. Three important tools to communicate your message.
“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on Earth filled with glory.”
Betty Smith – A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
Take the time to walk around your local area.
Photographing in the early morning or late afternoon can often reveal very interesting things. There are shapes, textures, lines and forms that reveal themselves to you if you remain aware…
Objects that we humans pass by every day not giving them a second glance, hold beauty, hold interest and stories. Human stories.
The shapes and forms are often made by humans to serve a purpose, a function and they do this effectively. I have attached one such image that I discovered.
By isolating it from its greater surroundings, but including those in close proximity an art form is created. This is a handrail at McDonalds in Camden NSW. Often used. Seldom appreciated.
If you haven’t done it lately, take a walk with a camera through your local area. I have no doubt that you’ll be surprised at what you find!
One of my favourite books on my Art shelf is “Styles, Schools and Movements” The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art by Amy Dempsey.
Commencing with Art in 1860 to the present day, it explores 100 styles, schools and movements in depth and contains a brief description of 200 more.
Each chapter includes a headlining quote from an Artist which offers food for thought, a detailed analysis on the ‘style, school or movement’, example images, references to key collections and books for further reading.
I find it an absolute delight to ‘dip into’ and it provides a great deal of inspiration for my own Art, Poetry, Writing and Photography.
I have the First Edition. A link to the Second Edition can be found below. Enjoy!
I was leafing through an old photography book and I came across the above quote by Ernst Haas. He was (and remains) a great influence on me.
There are quite literally millions of things to photograph and no photographer could rightly claim to have photographed everything there is, however we do not need to.
I often hear the comment, ‘there is nothing to photograph…” An amazing statement really… As I look out the window (in suburbia currently), I see many subjects and many ideas come to mind of what/how I could photograph them.
The problem isn’t the lack of subject matter. The problem is that we wander around blissfully unaware of our surroundings and we also get caught up in the world, rushing here rushing there.
STOP! Just for one moment wherever you are reading this! Look around.
Do you see a tree? Yes. Look at it as if it is not a tree, but an idea generator, branches as conduit bringing forth ideas (leaves) and photograph it accordingly…
Do you see a fence? Yes. Look at it as if it is not a fence, but a palette. A palette that has light dancing over it creating form and texture, lines and shapes.
Are you a glamour/nude photographer? View the body, not as a body but as a sculpture; view it as part of the landscape and photograph it accordingly…
Are you a flower photographer? View the flower, not as a flower but as a person with a personality…
It is not lack of subject matter, it’s a lack of ideas.
The continued challenge as a photographer is that we need to reinvent and apply new ideas to the subject matter or as Ernst Haas eloquently puts it…
“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.”
For more information on Ernst Haas
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