Thursday, November 01, 2007

keep it real, baby



I love taking pictures, but it is a rather limited medium. The most sophisticated camera lens falls far short of the human eye. Sometimes when I am out with my camera and I know that it cannot really capture what is in front of me, I just set the apparatus aside and take a picture with my eyes. Aaahhhhh!

The other thing about photos is that you can only capture one portion of time. You miss the before and after, the context, the journey, the story. Life was never meant to be static; all creation is made to change and grow and mature and multiply and morph. If a photo is blurry (which usually denotes the subject was moving or I was breathing - silly me), this is deemed a bad picture. How odd that movement is seen as the cause of a spoiled image. MOVEMENT IS A SIGN OF LIFE! Sometimes I catch myself trying to take the perfect picture, especially with people involved, setting everything up just right, adjusting my vantage point, removing unsightly objects, and then freezing it all (myself included) to capture that perfect image. It is not perfect - it is just static.

Throughout the years, there are a few unwritten rules that I have developed:

1. Take pictures of things as they are - do not move or tidy or arrange (unless it is a set-up shot like the one where I clumped all my tomatoes together).

2. Do not hamper movement unnecessarily, adjust your settings or wait. Yes, waiting is a big one.


3. Change your perspective often to see things better: lie on the ground, look down, look up, come closer, back away, try every angle. Everything is interesting from some angle.

4. Don't imagine the shot you want and then try to make it happen. Embrace the beauty in what is already in front of you.

5. Watch for the unexpected moments. The ones during set-up and when nothing appears to be happening and after you think the moment is gone. The unexpected moments are some of my favourites.

6. Just shoot. Don't be afraid to push the button, anywhere, anytime, especially if you have a digital camera. Don't even look at the display, just point it somewhere interesting and shoot. 100% of the time you don't press the button you won't get a great shot (paraphrased from Wayne Gretzky).

This shot of the bike in Saint John was taken while crouching down to see under a railing; the snarling animal (river otter, I think) with the blurry mouth was captured during feeding time at the Ecomuseum.

1 comment:

Doug Floyd said...

You should publish a coffee table book of your photos. I love them!