I learn about photography the less I want to know…
What follows is a common thought process with new photographers
or at least anal ones like me:
I want to be the best photographer though, that must mean that I need to
learn every technique that there is. I need to know the physics of light, in
to get really ‘good’ shots. Right? ”
The short answer is this: When you are thinking about what
f-stop/shutter speed/etc. you can’t think about how and why
you want to take the picture. Thus your mindset is one of problem solving
that of creative artist.
To illustrate when I first started photography I started
with an older automatic exposure scale focus camera. I had no prior
knowledge or experience, aside
from looking at a lot of artistic photos that I liked, I was a clean slate.
I just went out and took pictures.
I really enjoyed the first few rolls of pictures I took and
now I wanted to take ‘better’ ones. So armed with my newfound
love of photography as art I set out to learn everything that I could teach
myself about photography.
I did this enthusiastically over the course of the next year. Realizing that
my camera was just a cheap ‘toy’ that wasn’t capable of
taking ‘Real’ pictures,
I changed cameras numerous times over the course of that year. Thinking that
if I just got the right combination of lens, cameras, and knowledge, very high
quality photos would soon follow. Did my pictures continue to improve along
with my photographic knowledge?
The result was that my first rolls
are some of my best work.
But how could that be? I knew nothing when I started. I taught
myself a lot about photography. I upgraded my camera and optics. I gained
experience and theory. Why then did my new work not far exceed my old?
The reason was the more obsessed I would become with the
mechanics of photography the less I could focus (no pun intended) on
You see as far as art and street photography are concerned,
you will realize that the picture depends not on what you have in your
camera bag, or some arcane
wisdom but on your mindset.
Let me repeat that: The picture depends not on what you have in your camera
bag, or some arcane wisdom but on your mindset.
Thus, in some ways, I wish I could go back to blissful ignorance of both cameras
and concepts and make art.
YOU MAKE THE PICTURE, the camera just records it.
This Node was written with non-professional Art/street photographers in mind.
If your next meal depends on you getting ‘The Shot’, then by
all means put every ounce of thought in to the technical aspects of the picture
being taken. If you’re primary area of photography is Photojournalism
or wedding/portrait work, … why are you reading this article?
All ideas and concepts presented in this article are my opinion, of which I
reserve the right to be wrong.