Autumn: an appropriate time to be thinking and writing about cycles. The garden is fully formed, yielding all that it has to offer. The mornings are cooler with the smell of crisp change perched on the air, and once again, my thoughts turn to another year. Another year of productivity, highs, lows, little celebrations and small defeats. Each year brings better understanding of the way I work and the work that I do now, potential uncertainty about the work to come, and acceptance of the work that's been done. And the crux here is that it is all connected.
I have been taking photographs for almost four decades—mostly for money and always for myself. Over those forty years, I have slowly figured out what I wanted to ask the many photographers I encountered along the way. I have distilled this down to a list of questions that I would ask any photographer, knowing that the answers will help any photographer.
I took up photography while attending music college for recording engineering, and although I didn’t pursue a career in music, I’ve tried to follow the industry and technology very closely. What I’ve noticed is that there are some very striking parallels with photography.
From the very first time we pick up our cameras, we discover the importance of focusing on the main subject. It’s one of those intuitive bedrock foundations of Photo 101 and it becomes ingrained in our brains as an essential rule that we live by for the rest of our lives. Specifically, we learn that when shooting people or animals, we generally want to land the point of sharp focus right on the eyes.
I've been making photographs since 1972, when I purchased my first SLR, a Canon F-1 and in the decades since I have exposed millions of frames of film. With the advent of digital, I make even more images thanks to the instant feedback on the camera’s viewing screen where I can evaluate the photograph and then continue shooting until I get it right.
Less is more. We always hear that, don’t we? But how exactly does this concept apply in photography?
Oftentimes it means composing an image based around simplicity, where minimal subject matter exists in the frame and everything that doesn’t communicate the intended feel or message of the image is eliminated.
Finding inspiration can be very tough at times. Also, we all inevitably hit a slump once in a while. How do we stay inspired? Here are some tips from many famous professional photographers on how they keep that inspiration going. For even more ideas, you can take a look at how some famous photographers became interested in photography, pre-shooting rituals, and a couple of fun projects.
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