How I see photography and how do I like to teach it.
Photography is the action of recording light. There you have it – it’s that simple
Light, light, light… In the words of the legendary heavy metal band, Metallica – “nothing else matters.”
Light is one of two fundamental raw materials needed for photography—that and, of course, time. No matter how beautiful the model, couple, subject or scene in front of you, without light, you cannot make a photograph. It’s vital, as is time, which is just as important not only the time of day but in being patient and allowing creativity to guide you.
I want to help people’s photography by instilling in them a broader understanding of their journey. Success in anything in life usually takes time. Photography is also about passion and growth that uses these two raw materials to help you grow your creative skill which results in an expanding body of work.
My philosophy of photography
Photography and writing, for me, are not a journey to a destination but a journey of ongoing discovery. For me, it’s imperative always to be curious about the world you photograph. Always ask questions as if you’re a beginner or a newbie. Despite doing this for a long time, every time I go out there, I challenge myself to be in the moment as if it was the first or maybe the last time. Look at the scene in the same way a child looks at everything with wonder and awe for the first time. This way of seeing can be developed on your journey through photography by setting yourself goals, for example, photographing abstracts of the ordinary and mundane that you’re so used to looking at.
Making a photograph is an act of creativity with light. Instil in yourself an unending curiosity with every image you produce. Following the “what if I try?” philosophy will often lead you to a different perspective.
Photography is about having a strong passion for the subject before and after the image is made. It’s not just taking a pretty photo for content to clutter up your social media stream so you can chase a meagre 5% of organic reach.
I’ve always believed that to consistently take memorable photographs, you need two different skills – technical and creative. Technically, photography is about how long you allow light into the camera. Creatively, photography is the act of arranging elements in the frame that you review in your viewfinder as you compose or on the LCD after you have taken it. Your journey is to learn to marry these two aspects to make memorable images that inspire and influence the viewer in some way
So how do I want to teach it?
By simply teaching you how to learn photography.
You cannot be taught how to ride a bike or drive a car. People can give you pointers, but you are the one who must grab those handlebars or steering wheel. There are basic instructions and rules to adhere to, but you are the one who has to keep trying and failing until you eventually succeed. From the first time you head out of your driveway and into the world, it will throw different things at you to learn from – you’ll never stop learning.
Photography is no different. I cannot teach you how to consistently take or make good photos. I can teach you how to learn it for yourself
“Photography can only be taught in part. Specifically, that part which deals with photo technique. Everything else has to come from the photographer.” – Andreas Feininger
Photography is as simple as having a camera and understanding light and time, but it can take a lifetime to master. The early years are particularly tough as you may often feel out of your depth or losing ground to your peers.
If you’re standing next to me on a 1-2-1 session, I could tell you exactly what settings I’d used to get the photo. This is just parrot-fashion learning, sadly. You have to master the camera settings you will need by yourself. Seeing the way I see is unique to me because of my journey of many years. My goal is to teach you things to see and understand for yourself. You have to try, fail, learn, and try again. That’s how you master photography in your own way.
What is the future of photography?
Everyone has a smartphone at their fingertips nowadays, so can take a photograph of just about anything while they go about their daily lives. Partner that with a plethora of social media platforms that have algorithms that reward a constant stream of new content, and you have the current state of the photographic world—mass saturation.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t go out there and take more photos. It is one of your passions, right? Photography and photography businesses, in the future, will be guided by whatever technology leaps come along in the next few years – AI, Blockchain, Web3, Defi, NFTs etc. The most consistent thing throughout the development of photography dating back to somewhere in the 1820s is the way the photographer sees their world. That has been the constant to date. Photography will always be about how you see the world and how you create work that holds the viewer’s gaze with feeling.
Eighty per cent of the work I see out there (social media and the web) is bland, homogenised, filtered, and preset driven. Some are technically okay but ruined in the drive to be unique with a preset that everyone else has purchased.
There is way too much “same same same” out there. It’s a reason why I stopped scrolling through places like Instagram. It has served its purpose but sadly hides excellent work under a curated deluge of grey painted dullness.
Do this for you first and foremost, not some social media stream.
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