Progressing our photography...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Brian Mosley, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    I'm interested in continually improving the relevance and quality of my photography - I think there are a number of ways to do this... but would be interested in your thoughts?

    Currently, I'm subscribed to Sean Reid's (paid) review site - though not primarily for the reviews, more the creative articles he produces, such as street shooting etc... plus I just like reading high quality articles on photography.

    Also, I'm browsing through Phil Douglis' pbase based photography course on expressive travel photography - an awesome resource, and Phil is always incredibly giving.

    I'm also intending to host many events next year for my Olympus Photo Safari Group - we've had a relaxed year on events during 2009 due to my work commitments.

    What are you doing to move your photography to the next level?

    Cheers

    Brian
     
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  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Brian,
    For me it's more internal. Inside all of us lives a Third Eye.
    This eye, for photographers, connects the Eye, the Heart and the Mind.
    I try to pay attention to that eye as much as possible.
    There are many distractions for shooters. Such as, cameras, lenses, processing, to name a few.

    The images that really mean something in a body of work, usually are the ones from the Third Eye. Shooters normally call those images keepers. I call them connectors. It means I was connected during the process.

    So, outside stimulus is important but internal stimulus is more connected and original.
    It's not often easy to be connected to the here and now but it's what I strive for.
    Shooter
     
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  3. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    That's fascinating Shooter,

    can you share a little about how you go about getting/being connected? how did you come by this attitude? was it something you learned from someone else, or just became aware of through your own experience?

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Brian, Good questions. I will attempt to answer as truthfully as I can.

    Lifes information filters to like thru a funnel.
    What filters thru, the residue if you will, is what makes/shapes our mind etc.
    So I can't/won't lay claim to the origin of concepts that I follow.
    I can only lay claim to what I do now and only being aware that I am the residue of ideas filtered thru my funnel.

    To be connect means to be in touch with one's humanity. We often loose sight of that in this digital world. Everything happens so fast, so easy, that one can loose sight of one self.
    The Third Eye connects us with the here and now. If we focus on that, then we are focused on our place in the world. The great photographers of the past did this without explanation. They dwelled in a different world than we do now.

    Look at Gene Smith's image of his kids walking thru the Forrest.
    With all that he did, this was one of his favorites.

    The issue is, we all do this from time to time. We do connect.
    When we get lost, the focused shooters atleast know what they lost and try to get back to it. The ones not focused drift on and out and don't know they are lost because they don't know what they lost.

    Enough for now.... The iphonie makes crazy.
    Don
     
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  5. Atto

    Atto New to Mu-43 Charter Member

    What are you doing to move your photography to the next level?

    Trying to reach my goal I have adopted μ43 for street photography.
     
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Great question

    I've been trying to make more time to see and appreciate the photography of others. That includes looking at online work, such as that being posted by the talented folks in this forum and others, but also work in photo books, magazines, and galleries. Also trying to make more time for viewing art in general, not limited to photography. That said, the one thing I don't have much of is time.
     
  7. noug4t

    noug4t   Charter Member

    4
    Dec 15, 2009
    Sometimes, with friends, we take a bus, to somewhere were we never been, and take pictures. Some days after that, we take a look to our images. Seeing different interpretations of a same place is very inspiring!
     
  8. noug4t

    noug4t   Charter Member

    4
    Dec 15, 2009
    An other way to progress is to try to take one good picture each days. ^^
     
  9. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Thanks Don, I really appreciate your thoughts... that's a beautiful image by Gene Smith.

    [​IMG]

    I will work more on being 'present' and allow that to influence my work... I think it will help.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
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  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Love that photo.

    Don, thanks for your thoughtful post. It was worth the iPhone effort!
     
  11. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    No thanks ever needed. It's our responsibility to share.
    Some of Brian's images of his daughter are equal to the image by Gene.
    What I mean is, the emotional attachment shines through.

    Amin, your image of the cloak & tree is there also.
    Magic.....
    Shooter
     
  12. classiclenses

    classiclenses   Charter Member

    4
    Dec 16, 2009
    Here is my attempt at a Smith-like image

    Dan
     

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  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Dan,
    Your post brings an interesting element to the discussion.
    When you made the photo, were you thinking about Gene's image or it just happens to resemble it as an after thought ?
    Inquiring minds want to know.
     
  14. classiclenses

    classiclenses   Charter Member

    4
    Dec 16, 2009
    Having young kids and being aware of Smith's iconic image, I enjoy making images of kids from behind and holding hands. The kids in the photo are my son and his cousin. At first they were just holding hands and while the middle image is far from being original - its very sweet to me. Then I asked that they jump up in the air together but I couldn't get them both in the air together at the same time. But when I looked at 3 shots together, I thought they made a cute triptych.

    Best
    Dan
     
  15. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Dan,
    Going to exhibitions, looking at photo books,
    etc, us a great thing to do.
    Making family photos/albums is important work.
    Many shooters dismiss what's in front of them, untill it's gone.
    Don
     
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I agree that family photography is important work! It's often dismissed as snapshot photography, but not all family photos are destined for the shoebox in the back of the closet :).
     
  17. Ranger9

    Ranger9 Mu-43 Rookie Charter Member

    15
    Dec 16, 2009
    Another great thing about family photography is that it almost automatically makes you photograph something you care about!

    I feel photographs about something about which you care are usually better than photographs that are merely "about photography."

    Topic: Harry Callahan's years of photographs of his wife, Eleanor, are brilliant in their own right. Would he have been able to do as well if he had just been using random models rather than the woman he (presumably) loved?
     
  18. Ranger9

    Ranger9 Mu-43 Rookie Charter Member

    15
    Dec 16, 2009
    "Progressive" thinking

    There are two concepts I try to use to progress. I'm pretty good at one, not so good at the other:

    1) You learn more from your successes than your failures.


    Contrary to the old sayings about "learning from your mistakes," it turns out (says organizational psychologist Richard Farson) that you get more out of studying things that went right.

    How I apply that insight is that once a year, I try to sit down and look through the photos I made that year that I really, really like. (In an exceptionally good year, there might be about a half-dozen.)

    I try to analyze these photos in detail, to discover more specifically what I like about them. The hope is that by understanding this, I'll be able to incorporate that knowledge to make other photos I'll like.

    This isn't a trivial process; you need to be prepared to think like an art critic, really digging into the images to isolate the factors that make them exceptionally appealing. How much of it is the subject matter? How much of it is the pose or arrangement? How much is the design of the image? How much is post-processing technique? etc.

    Sometimes you'll run into an image that totally baffles you as to why you like it; I find these the most interesting of all, because it means I've still got something to learn about myself that I haven't discovered yet. [More about that in this blog post.]

    But I almost always learn something useful from this exercise... even if it's not necessarily pleasant to confront the reality that 99.9% of my photos aren't really much good!​

    2) Effort doesn't guarantee quality, but at least it makes it possible.

    This is another way of saying that if you want to make more pictures you like, you have to be willing to create the conditions under which it's possible to create pictures you like.

    Or to put it another way: If your life's ambition is to photograph African elephants in the wild, you won't accomplish much sitting on your back porch in Schenectady.

    This is the one that I tend not to do so well. For example, one thing I really enjoy is working with people and lighting in a studio situation to make pictures like this one:

    [​IMG]

    Much as I like doing that, though, I'm bizarrely reluctant to make it happen more often. Sure, I'll spend lots of time reading websites about lighting and studio-shooting techniques; I'll throw money into instructional DVDs, books, and equipment; occasionally I'll even make a major investment to attend a workshop.

    It seems the one thing I won't do is just pick up the phone or click an email; contact someone I know -- someone who's likely to be cooperative; and say, "Hey, would you be interested in doing some test photos? How about we get together on date X at place Y?"

    I don't really understand that about myself. Every year, my photography New Year's resolution is to overcome this reluctance and make more opportunities for myself.

    So far, I haven't had much luck keeping it...​
     
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  19. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I remember being 12. There was a drawer in a chest in the dining room that no one was allowed to open. On day, I opened it and my mother caught me.
    Much to my surprise, I was not punished but instead, she sat on the floor with me as we looked through hondreds of negatives.
    I did not understand what they were.

    She explained best she could, that my father, deceased when I was 6, was a photographer and this was the family photos.

    At that moment, I knew that photography would be my lifes work.
    The shoebox, as Amin calls it, contained my history. It contained proof of family long gone before me.

    I knew at that time that nothing in my life would serve my and my families memories like that shoebox. The drawer has moved to my archive.
    I continue to add images of the existance of my friends and family.

    When I showed a curator a body of work many years ago, he bought some images for the collection. Included with the selection was images of my son and daughter.
    I was amazed that those images were selected.
    Now, many years later, I understand his choice.
    What on GOD'S green earth could I love more.

    Shooter
     
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  20. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    I think I'm going to like this forum a lot :)

    Thanks Ranger, Don

    Brian