Recently, I posted an image on Facebook which caused a friend to have the following thoughts. “Looking at your image this morning, I started thinking about where we choose to capture images and why we do so. What draws us to photograph at certain locations over and over? Do we tend to photograph certain locations because they are rich with opportunity or because we feel a certain affinity or attraction to the location? Do certain locations put us at ease and make the creation of images less stressful? Or are we hunting for something there that we may have missed or not yet seen? Perhaps a new way of seeing? Do each of us have a finite number of places to capture “The Capture That Is Worthy”? I have found myself falling into the rhythm of all the familiar places rather than seeking new opportunities. I’m sensing that I need to push my boundaries once again and break out of my rut.”
Wow Jim, that is a lot to think about, however, you ask some good questions. I have some thoughts but would also like to hear blog readers too.
1. I believe we should photograph what makes our hearts sing. If it does not resonate with me there is a good chance it will not resonate with you. Photograph what appeals to you.
2. I believe going back to the same places for repeated opportunity is important. Ansel, you know, Adams? Yup that guy. He spent many a day at places like Yosemite and the Alabama Hills. The light will be different, you will bring new knowledge each time, your maturity if you will. Your mood will be different, your attitude will be different, your skill level improved and on and on. I remember going to the Lonaconing Silk Mill the first time, I was overwhelmed. The next time I was more relaxed and got into a groove. The next time I worked on details, the next other things. Each time my images changed, my vision changed. I now look forward to going again. I see repeated opportunity as a good thing and have personally found that my work becomes better with each visit. The Palouse comes to mind. This will be my 8th year there. Do I make as many images each trip? No, however, I do think the images I do make are stronger than the previous years. More mature if you will.
3. I do think we tend to photograph locations that are comfortable and familiar and this makes sense. Again, why photograph what we are not drawn to? That said, I do think we need to stretch! A friend told me I needed to photograph the Disney Concert Hall in LA. I said no 4 years in a row until I finally caved and went. It was an very important moment in my journey as a photographer. I realized during that trip that I was unwilling to go because I was afraid I would not do well. I was afraid I would not know what to do. You see, I didn’t know anything about photographing architecture and was avoiding it due to my FUD. (Fears uncertainties and doubts) When I finally went, I had great success and realized it was….. JUST PHOTOGRAPHY!!! In the end it was just like a landscape scene, the same principals apply. So both work for me. The comfortable and the stretch. Do them both!
Okay, enough of my thoughts. Your turn, what say you?