TALKING IMAGES 55 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY: 1 – THE MAIN MANTRA

 


(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

INTRO

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly.

And so – there can be no question where to start ->>>>>  its the Main Mantra!

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THE MAIN MANTRA

When thinking about photography, THE main (and very liberating) thing to keep in mind is that we are all different in our attitudes and opinions to it.  We are all individuals.  This does of course apply to probably anything that you like to mention – we all may have different opinions about cheese, the clothes we choose to wear, the houses we like to live in, the books we read, those we choose as partners, those we hate – you name it!

This being the case, there are never any rights or wrongs in photography, there are only differences of opinion.  I may think my photos are wonderful, and someone else may think them dreadful.  Photography is a very subjective activity, it depends upon our personal opinions – and that is something I’ll touch on more in later posts.

And so to Stuffed Shirts.

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STUFFED SHIRTS

How YOU choose to approach photography, how you take your photographs, is entirely YOUR choice. And so, if you never take anything else away from these posts, never, ever, let anyone else – any Stuffed Shirt –  tell you that you are not a “proper” photographer because you do not do something which he or she thinks “proper” photographers should do.  We’ve all heard it – that we must/ must not use a particular make of camera; or NOT use a mobile phone; or always/never work in black and white; or always/never use a tripod;  or always/never use our camera on manual settings; or always/never use certain processing software; or only photograph in the blue and golden hours; or always/never obey the photographic “rules” >>> on and on and on >>> ad nauseam!

LOL! >>> David Noton, a photographer that I certainly admire, once said, in print, something at once both hugely important and really quite rude – “ignore all the bo**ocks, get out there and expose.  Take your camera for a walk. Use your eyes.“.  Very simple, very blunt and hugely relevant.

And so to one way forward.

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ONE WAY FORWARD

Take photographs, and then look at them and think if you like them and are satisfied with them.  If you are NOT satisfied with them, try to think – to articulate/explain to yourself – why this is so >>>>> and then learn from that.

By all means look at other photographers’ pictures and try to learn from them – what is there in them that you would like to see in your pictures?  But note that simply copying others’ photographs – e.g. by simply standing on the same spot as they did to photograph Stonehenge – is unlikely to bring lasting satisfaction or expertise.

But there are many resources to help you, e.g. looking at images in museums, art galleries and books, and on the internet; joining tours and workshops led by expert photographers (see for example the link to David Noton, above); joining a camera club; reading photographic magazines; searching for info on the internet, including youtube; watching the (relatively few) photography programs on TV, etc.  Generally speaking, the more images that you can see, the more you will add to the “photographic library” – the visual experience – within your mind.  And do keep in mind that these can be images in all media – photographs, paintings, pencil/charcoal drawings, computer-generated graphics, advertising pictures, pictures on Cornflakes packets (naturally, I admit all links to the firm …) – all types of images!

First, you ought to like/ be satisfied with your own pictures.  And second – if you choose to go in this direction/ if this matters to you –  it would be nice if (at least some) others liked them too.

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

19 Responses to TALKING IMAGES 55 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY: 1 – THE MAIN MANTRA

  1. lorraineanne says:

    amazing photography!
    much love x

    Like

  2. I rarely think of the ‘why’ I like/dislike. I feel dumb admitting this.

    I’m going to love these lessons. 😉
    XXXATPXXX

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well, why don’t try what I’m suggesting? Look at a picture – not one of me because we want an fair test here, although you could opine “Far more hair than is immediately apparent” – and just try thinikng why….

      And if you’re going to love these lessons, well you know I can be quite strict, I mean things like keeping you in before school, eating your lunch for you, and “You there! … yes, YOU!!! … GET OUT!!!”. I’ve had the training you see … 😉 …. no more Mr Nice Guy ….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mathias LK says:

    “Photography is a very subjective activity, it depends upon our personal opinions” – yes, which is why it is so valuable when you find a few other human beings who see something in what you see yourself. Which in itself is reason enough why photographies must be made and put on display for others to discover. Very good starting points, Adrian.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, very good point from you too, ” which is why it is so valuable when you find a few other human beings who see something in what you see yourself”, very well said, very true. 🙂

      Like

  4. bluebrightly says:

    Very well put, Adrian, and useful to anyone at any time. It’s interesting to see which photos you chose to include, too. They illustrate some of the ideas you brought up. The wide variety of images reflects the variety of human responses to images, our subjectivity. Your tolerant, generous voice is appreciated. 🙂

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you, its very good to hear that this is useful. I’m going to do some more of these, about a variety of things, perhaps one a week. The images were not consciously chosen to illustrate the written points, but simply to be different from one another in approach / subject matter.

      Like

  5. You make excellent points and your photos speak for themselves!

    Like

  6. brenda says:

    Thank you Adrian for the reminder…who we love and what we love doing is simply that which we love. And as relationships invite us to grow…to mature so does photography.

    Like

  7. krikitarts says:

    Yes, there are stuffed shirts out there but, in my experience, they are thankfully in the vast minority, and the corresponding vast majority of artists have reasonably-open minds where others’ photographic passions and works are concerned. If you dislike an image, stop looking at it–unless you want to ponder why you dislike it. If you disagree with another photographer’s philosophy, feel free to say so, but be ready to consider a response. And in any case, give each new image a fair chance to speak to you in its own way, as its creator took the time to develop it so that you might have the opportunity to share and consider his/her vision. And you are so right, Adrian: There are no rules.

    Like

  8. Sonali Dalal says:

    Thank you for sharing this!! I have met many “stuffed shirts”in my life , whose opinions stupidly affected me a lot. On one hand, I know I should not listen to them but on the other hand when I see people putting them on pedestal, I start wondering am I wrong in ignoring them? Am I doing right thing with my photography? Am I really a photographer or producing trash? Frankly, it reached a level when I stopped doing photography. Now I am trying to be back at it but now I am reluctant to share my photos on Facebook or Instagram but like quiet anonymity of this blog. One doesn’t mind constructive criticism ,in fact learns from it, but criticism just for the sake of it can affect any artist. Slowly I understood the reasons behind this, nepotism, groupism, competition; usual culprits. After long monologue with myself I have come to the conclusion that enjoy what you do, forget what other feels, if it gives you pleasure that is enough. From many I got comment “oh, we don’t understand your photography” , now I think that is their problem.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Sonali, my friend, I’m very interested to read this – and not least I suppose because you and I have accompanied each other, via the net, for quite a long time now on our photographic journeys.

      I have an instinctive aversion to Facebook and Instagram >>> LOL! having got out of the employment rat race by retiring, the last thing I want to do now is get into the photographic rat race!!! I find these WordPress blogs ideal. We meet interesting people, there is no competitiveness, and there is ample chance to write and discuss if we want to. For me, my blog is both a great creative outlet, both for images and words; and it also provides motivation that keeps me photographing – motivation that I might not have if I were simply storing my images on my hard drive.

      You are right, the basic thing is to enjoy photography – LOL! and as I say here, ignore all the Stuffed Shirts!!! And you’re also right, if someone doesn’t understand your photography, that’s not your problem, you are under no obligation to explain yourself.

      As always, its good to talk to you, my friend. Stay safe in these uncertain times. Adrian 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

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