Do you ever wish you could banish all the images you've seen in your life and start over fresh?

When we first start learning about photography most of us begin a voracious process of research. We want to know how to do stuff that looks "professional." We want to know who is at the top of the game in the specialty in which we're most interested. We start noticing the photographs in ad campaigns, in magazine editorials and on sites all across the web. When we're beginners we generally have two attributes: We're incredibly excited to learn the breadth and depth of photography and we are like sponges, soaking up so much of the visual environment in which we exist. Logging it away in our memory banks for future (mandatory) reference.

Many teachers have the idea that seeing works by masters and then having students imitate the works they like will help us to better develop as photographers. Almost everyone thinks it's a good idea to know the visual history of our medium. And we seem to go to that inspirational well again and again when we get stuck.

But all of this is a double edge sword that does two things: It teaches us how to make familiar images that look like everything else out in the photographic world and it corrupts the unblemished expression of our very personal approaches by implanting indelible, subconscious templates of the standards  which we carry around with us, unwanted and maybe unknowingly;  like a governor to our creativity.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if we could erase the decades of seeing other work and go out into the world to see and to photograph in a way that would be absolutely and uniquely your own?  I do.  And I do because when I lift the camera to my eye I sometimes hear the jaded, internal, eternal conversation that says, "This is like a watered down Henri Cartier Bresson image meets that cool ad in Outdoor Magazine for Patagonia, combined with just a touch of Bruce Davidson."  And that's generally followed by the thought that,"everything has already been done."

I remember spending time at a progressive pre-school here in Austin when my son was very young. And for some reason I was remembering just this afternoon the way many of the children attacked their art with such passion and lack of judgement.  They marveled at how blue the blue was that came streaking out of their crayons. How deep and rich the yellow was as the paint spread across the paper from their chubby paintbrushes like flames from a rocket, and how dynamic and fierce the red was as they spread it around with their hands and let it soak into their imaginations.

And if they looked at another kid's art it was to admire, not copy. They admired without judgement and then stepped back into their own world of kinetic creation. They were their own audience and they weren't imitating something they saw in GQ or on Flickr.  They were pushing through their art just for unalloyed joy of getting covered with color and making shapes and images that resonated with the flow of life as they knew it.

I try to get back to that state of joy with my photographs but sadly I seem to know too much. I know how to do stuff. I know how it's supposed to get done and what it's supposed to look like when I finish.  And when I do finish a piece or a project my mind has a catalog of the acknowledged masters in the field and my work always seems to fall short in comparison to theirs.

Sometimes I have the idea that if I limit myself to one subject and try to do that one subject all the time, and in a new way each time, I'll produce work that surprises even me.  Sometimes I limit myself to one camera and one lens but there's always some rationale that upsets the apple cart and makes my mind start thinking about the "lost potential" of not having some other "perfect" tool at hand.

You've seen me bounce from camera to camera in a vain attempt to mix up the way I work in the hopes that a temporary incompetence with the gear will create a handful of happy accidents but it usually just slows down the process.

The only thought that always brings me back into a creative cycle is the idea that, "Wherever you go, there you are." That to make more exciting art you must be more exciting. Or better, your ideas must be more exciting.  In the end all the images are about what you think and what you select. If you've held firmly to the same ideas, notions, prejudices and tastes for the last decade or two or three it's little wonder that your or my creativity is sitting at the curb idling.

Sometimes it's good to take a deep breath and plunge into something we thought we didn't like or wouldn't like....just to try it.  Like the first time a college girl friend convinced me to try sushi.  The first time you paid for a massage. The first time you tried an alternative  art or photo process or the first time you played laser tag.

I feel this way about video right now.  I don't want to see anyone else's work in video. I want to start fresh. I'm purposely ignoring everything I don't already know about video because I think it's more important to know what I want to say than how I'll say it. I want to know how I see in video before I see how everyone else does it.

I think the way to original thoughts and impulses is to learn the bare minimum you need to know and then unplug yourself from the omnipresent visual grid, the matrix, and go off to experiment on your own. Chuck the books and educational websites. Turn off the galleries and the blogs and remove yourself temporarily from everything that works as a crutch to reinforce the unconscious standard and then--- just play.

My exercise for the week is to try to photograph "love."  What I love. Who I love. How I express love. How strangers express love and how best friends express love.  "It's the only thing that there's just to little off...." (songwriter, Hal David, who passed away recently).  It's a different idea for me because I always leave the house looking for the classic photographic inventory of physical subject opportunities like, beautiful girls, majestic skies, yummy presentations of food, interesting faces and all the other obvious stuff.  What does love look like? What does the taste of a perfect slice of pizza look like.  What makes me happy and how can I share what "happy" looks like.

Anyone can copy a technique or a look. But know one can picture your universe of feelings and thoughts the way you can, if you really do it your way. Maybe the most powerful art describes a feeling or a passion instead of a subject.

After I learn how to see what love looks like to me and my camera I would like to make a little movie about the idea of love as the ultimate glue for our human society. And none of these ideas really have anything to do with the technical side of imaging. If you're reading this blog you already know all the facts you really need to know.  Now we need to stretch and show ourselves what we love to see. Disconnected from expectation. Disconnected from the desire to do it "right."  Really.

Wow. That was so not a Kirk Tuck style blog. But it's out there. How do you make your photographs special? How do you banish the idea that it's all been done? How do you block out all the references and just make work for yourself?  No. Really.  I'm asking-----

Comments are open. Fire away.


Carlo Santin said...

Picasso once said that all children are born artists, but it gets educated out of them by the time they become young adults.

I think all artists start by emulating, mimicking, re-creating the work of those who have gone before them. If you keep at it, at some point, with enough sweat equity (time in the water on this site), your own voice begins to break through...then you need to find the courage that young children seem to posses, that free-spirited total lack of inhibition and fear that only the very young seem to have. So tough to do, so tough to ignore the voices of others who say how something should be done, tough to ignore the critiques of others and their disapproval, and your own voice (at least my own voice) that says I am not good enough...you should have done this or that, used this aperture or this lens etc.

For me, I find taking periodic breaks, total breaks from the task, help me to come back fresh, with a new perspective. I find if I do other things for a while and don't touch a camera, then when I come back to it I see things a bit differently.

It's an interesting question, and one without any real answer I'm afraid.

kirk tuck said...

Thank you. I like that answer. I really do.

mike peters said...

Kirk, I've been down the same path. I've looked at too many images, so everything I shot seemed familiar for a long time. It took me many years to find my own voice. What happened is that I just surrendered to photographing what interested me in a way that left me with few choices to make before I left the house. One format, one film, one lens, no appointments (didn't want it to turn into just another assignment), just show up someplace, allow the images to find me, and get out of my own way. I kept it simple.

I decided that in order to make work that resonated with me, I'd just follow my interests and go to places, and choose people that caught my eye. In the process, I found my self. I found that what I shot was very much were I came from, and very much about who I am and what I care about. I never go out with any idea of the images that I wanted to find, simply because when I look to hard I usually fail to see what is in front of me. I leave the house with an empty head, open to what I find.

Photography for me has always been a process of discovery. One image has always led me to then next. I began this journey by going back over 20 years of images, slowly uncovering the common thread that pulled it all together. I found that I always had my own voice, but didn't have the faith to trust it, in the face of all the images by others that crowded my mind and brought me in different directions. Now, 10+ years later I've created a significant body of work that I feel is all my own. Finally, I feel confident enough with my own voice. It's been a long process, but worth it.

As of now, the best thing you can do is stop looking at other people's work for a while and just pore over your own. When you're done, think about all of the images floating around in your head that other people have made and be honest about which ones truly resonate with you. Between what you remember to be meaningful, and your discoveries in your own work through the years, where are the intersections? That is where you'll find your own voice. Then, when you go out and you see the images that look like all the ones that you've already seen, keep walking, don't be distracted. Wait until you see the image that only you can see, the one that is not like all the others in the magazines or ads, or whatever. And don't worry if anyone else will like it, you are the only customer you need to please.

Jeff Damron said...

I have no idea how to answer this question, though it surely has me thinking and few questions even seem to do that these days. Therefore I'm going to label this a "great" question. For now all I know is that I am glad to know that I am not the only one who hears the voices.

Steve J said...

Hi Kirk, good post.

I will say I always struggle with this, and I am sure all photographers do.

However, I'll start but saying that I don't think knowledge and referents need to be a constraint. Learning a language is not writing a novel and you can't really break rules in a meaningful way unless you understand them in the first place. I think all great artists would claim both a wide working knowledge of subject and some form of influence.

But it is incredibly hard to be different, to have the imagination or vision to see something in a way no-one else does. About the only thing that's unique about what each of us sees is where we are standing when we see it, but actually that's sometimes enough if we look at it in a way that's somehow purposeful. Then again, to go somewhere totally unfamiliar also forces us to look a bit harder.

I think the main inhibitor in all of us is that we are trying too hard to be "good" and simply not trying hard enough to "see". Perhaps we are also far too worried about what everyone else thinks. Flickr is like a doting parent's fridge, covered in naive daubs which are fulsomely praised, but it is far more important to take risks and accept failure as long as we learn something from it.

Dave Jenkins said...

It was interesting to me that Mike Peters wrote "Photography for me has always been a process of discovery."

I've said from the very beginning, 44 years ago, that photography is for me an art of discovery. The things I look for are beauty, mystery, and although it may seem contradictory, irony.

ODL Designs said...

Hey Kirk,
I come here to read thoughtful commentaries and some gear chatter. Every now and again you write a gem of an article, and this is one.

I love photographing my family, is it art? Probably not, but I love looking at it more than a lot of art :) as for keeping a level of creativity I can share an idea I had as I asked a similar question: Beyond my family (and my product photography which is more a challenge) how to I inspire shoots in my head, what do I WANT to create, to see.

The answer for me ties in with my reading. I love books, especially sci-fis from the 60-70 decades. So, I decided to take some of my favorite novels, reread them and pick a scene, something that really resonated with me and bring it to life as my minds eye saw it.

Just one way of trying to show others what they may never have seen, may never have thought about, and comes with a pre-written caption (ties in with your context discussions :P )

Anyways, I appreciate your writing, and hope you find a project to jump start your photography.

Libby said...

I have given in yo my love for square format. I cut out a mask I can use on the LCD of the DSLRs. I found out I like to shoot dead things. Not as morbid as it sounds. I like to go out into the garden and shoot in November, January, February. Sometimes I find a sprig of something that won't give up. I find things like wire fences that have suffered the wrath of a hard winter.

And I have rekindled the love of infrared. I had tried it back in the film days and did not have too much luck with it. I recently had a camera converted to full spectrum and I'm having a ball with it. I'm trying to get away from the usual trees and flowers and trying to incorporate buildings and have even shot some IR interiors - very cool. Here one from today that's in my retouch bin to work on.


BTW I was looking at a lot of IR work, and even though it's narrow sector, a lot of looks like the same canned crap. So I stopped. I able to think more clearly now about what I want to achieve.

Anonymous said...

1. Reggie Jackson, the baseball player known as "Mr October" once said this in a VW commercial. "I drive a VW Rabbit because the only person I have to impress is me" The only person I have to impress is me -- words to live by!!

2. The only Rule is "There are no Rules." People tell you that you need to know the rules before you can break them -- why?? The pre-school kids that kirk tuck mentioned didn't know the rules, they were making them up as they went along!!

"Picasso once said that all children are born artists, but it gets educated out of them by the time they become young adults." That's right, the establishment crams all the Rules down-their-throat until there is no creativity left.

The only photo book I own is Edward Colver's "Blight at the End of the Tunnel." B&W photos of the early punk scene in Los Angeles.


Randy Statton said...

Great insight that is very applicable to my current situation.

A bit of background...I used to live to take pictures, had my own darkroom, saw the world in black and white. But young marriage, family, responsibilities, etc, seemed to drain the creativity from my soul until I felt I was just taking "snapshots". So, I stopped.

Fast forward 30 years...the kids are grown, the wife still loves me, and she wants to rekindle our interest in photography. A visit to Bob Keller's studio on the Oregon coast was all it took. We both dove in headfirst- sold the old film stuff, and bought a Sony A57 and A700. (Found your blog looking for reviews on the A57) A few lenses, and we're off. Here's where today's entry hits home. I can't seem to be satisfied with many, is any, of my shots. I'm comparing them to what my mind seems to remember my capabilities were before, and I'm not shaping up. My wife, too- she can't get studio worthy shots on her first outing with the new hardware, and she's discouraged.

So...nice to hear your thoughts. I wish we could both forget what we think we should be producing, and embrace the joys of seeing through a new set of eyes.

And thanks for writing such a great blog!

Daniel S. said...

Well, no. Many times I've surprised myself applying a form of self-censorship, particularly in a style that has captivated me yet is considered something deeply wrong in a traditional sense: photographs where the horizon is perfectly level with the *diagonal* of the frame, rather than any of its borders. I do wonder, sometimes, whether something fun and unique would come up if I pursued that idea without care, and lament that years of reading web blogs, forum posts and technique books have conditioned a part of me to shout "WRONG!" whenever my creative juices attempt such heresy. I even dread thinking what forms of self-censorship I commit of which my conscious self isn't even aware.

But in a more general sense, my brain knows all too well that the taboos and mental blocks my education has imposed over me are mere trivialities compared to all the things that's showed me that I previously thought impossible; HCB's 'Tête a tête' showed me that the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" was not hyperbole, for example, and I think that knowledge has advanced and encouraged my pursuit of photography much more than the rigidness of my composition has stunted it. And of course technique comes in handy every so often.

Even so, lately I've been trying to overcome those mental blocks with a method that doesn't involve amnesia. It's quite simple, too, as it involves only one little change: I no longer show my photos to anyone except the subject him/herself, and then only if they ask for it. Sadly it's quite unfeasible for someone like you who lives from photography itself, and its results haven't been ideal so far (no tilted landscapes as of yet, self-censorship is still too strong), but it has brought a few smaller changes to my photography that I've appreciated thus far.

atmtx said...

It's time to use the force and embrace HDR.

Tim Cooper said...

I don't know. I just do it.

Which is, I suppose, what it is. So I do know. Hopefully I will still be able to do it.

Fortunately I have a bad memory.

jmag Liverpool said...

Ah a man at a Tee junction......... look close it's a crossroads
popeye had it cracked ...... I yam what I yam
go eat your photo spinach

AndyK said...

To get from vision to image requires a ton of craftsmanship. If you only learn by doing, you wind up in a lot of dead ends that you may, or may not, work your way out of. Observing, or apprenticing to, other craftsmen gives you tools you would have never invented on your own.

Frank Grygier said...

I should be one of the greatest photographers. I have less to forget.

Frank Grygier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Grygier said...

Trey Ratcliff sees the world a little differently than most. The camera seems to make little difference to him. http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2012/09/05/burning-man-camera-trivia-which-camera-took-what-shot/

Steve J said...

Lots of interesting replies, many of which echo the same theme - do it for you.

Picasso's point was that you should "see" like a child - without preconception and without fear - not that you should work like one. He went to art school like everyone else. What he rebelled against was conformity and accepted standards but he was a very skilled artist.

The real issue with accepted standards is not what the establishment forces on us, but what human nature demands of it in terms of structure and certainty. We actively look around for "accepted norms" of good and bad so we know where we stand and what to "align with" and what to criticise. The "establishment" we refer to is no longer a body of bearded men but our willing, subconscious acceptance of those social norms and our willingness to limit our discussion to what we know.

Today the "real establishment" is so rarified and remote that many of us don't even know who it is, the work it promotes often so anti-aesthetic and experimental that we dismiss it. That is part of the problem in itself. The establishment is not holding us back any more, we are. It left us behind and went off somewhere in the 1960's.

When we were young, we were subject more to peer pressure than anything else. Did I really LIKE punk music or did I just enjoy the scene and the feeling of rebelliousness? Mostly the latter. It was just conforming in another way, a uniform of peer-group non-conformance which was entirely self-referential and which morphed into the accepted social fabric in a decade. Now I am an old fogie who hates rap ;)

However we live in an era where everything is possible. We have far more freedom, we are exposed to much more, the classical structure was broken down long ago. You would think that in such a liberated environment and with digital equipment that has no limits on film usage or post processing that people would be going out and trying new stuff and the world would be a creative cornucopia. So why isn't it?

Well it is, but you would never realise it from internet forums. For most photographers the opposite has happened, the art world is so esoteric that people are feeling lost and looking dewey eyed to the past instead of walking out of the door and doing something completely different. We are self-censoring and we use forums and blogs and Flickr to perpetuate it. We dare not show anything radical and difficult because we are afraid of the ridicule it will receive. Easier to stay with the stuff that everyone likes.

There ARE people doing new and interesting stuff, but most of it makes us uncomfortable so we dismiss it and in so doing we side with the establishment that we so carefully constructed.

But we can do whatever we want. We don't HAVE to care, for our private creative work, whether we get a thousand "likes" or a million hits or none at all.

So pick up that camera, take risks, do something totally "not you". Have fun, do something that feels totally alien to you, stop caring and if you want to keep it all to yourself, fine. No-one really cares anyway ;)

Anonymous said...

I think "Craftsmanship" is highly overrated. There are lots of successful photos that are out-of-focus, from a little to a lot., that are published in books/magazines. and sold by art galleries. Many times technical perfection leads to banal, bland and boring photos. Follow the PPA rules and get portraits that look old fashioned, or do like kirk tuck does and get a more modern take on portraiture.

Your photos can have many looks -- classic (read old fashioned), contemporary "a la mode," contemporary "over-processed" or avant-garde/expérimental. The choice is yours.

Obviously our milage does differ. But that's OK!! Different strokes for different folks make photography more interesting.


andrew said...

Incredible photo. And, yes, it speaks of Love. "Gotta a whole lotta love", really.

Anonymous said...

Frustrating that I never studied or followed photography over the 40-50 years I spent "taking pictures". I knew the Rule of Thirds and that was about it. The last few years I've gotten more serious about it, the exposure/lighting/framing part came naturally, but I've needed to learn.... the rest.

Now, maybe young people who grew up in the digital age have this same problem... if you go to look at the "old masters", you've seen so many imitators that you can't see what was special about them, unless you understand the context of when they worked. An example from my feeble background... Cartier-Bresson defined the "decisive moment", but many have since captured better moments. But HCB did it when he did it, and inspired others. The problems is, most of the great photographers, the first time I look at their work, it feels like I'm looking through a better than average Flickr gallery. It's just kind of frustrating, because you really have to think about their work to understand what made it great *in its time*; our eyes have been blurred by the subsequent deluge.

Anonymous said...

I think that todays "establishment" are the fora and blogs. They set the standards for everything from art to daily life for many people. It's a lot easier to parrot other peoples opinions than to form your own. The used to be a saying: "Opinions are like cell phones, everyone has one," but I don't think that still holds true.

BTW I was born before WWII, and have AC/DC (rock), Anti-Flag (punk), and Alice DJ (techno) on my iPod. Plus First Aid Kit (Swedish C&W), Hank Williams III (country), The Raveonettes (alternative), The Red Hot Chilli Peppers (rock) and Roy Rogers (blues). I try not to get stuck in the rut of only one true way.


AndyK said...

"Craftsmanship" must be some sort of codeword of which I am clueless. All you have to do is read one of Kirk's postings about how he lit a given shot to know the tremendous amount of technical skill (what I mean by craftsmanship) goes into all his work.

Even experimental, apparently random and off-kilter images often require a lot of work to be "random" and off-kilter in just the right way. For example, Spike Jones Jr. said, when defending his father's musicianship, "One of the things that people don't realize about Dad's kind of music is, when you replace a C-sharp with a gunshot, it has to be a C-sharp gunshot or it sounds awful."

Steve J said...

Very true!

I heard a comment about Stephen Shore which said something like "I can take better snapshots than that"....

Completely misses the point of what he was doing (and actually if you look at the shots themselves they are far from accidental).

kirk tuck said...

Nice. I agree with so many things you've said here.

kirk tuck said...

I think that would be absolutely antithetical to what I've written here. I can't imagine a technique that's been more broadly embraced by the mainstream.

kirk tuck said...

Stephen Shore's work seems like a commentary on a commentary for me. All theory and no emotion. A color Walker Evans.

kirk tuck said...

I wish everyone really did have strong opinions, at least life among the greater population would be more interesting. Most people fall into the "Lemming Camp" and just go with the flow. Guess they believe that the nail that sticks up gets hammered down...

Well, as I've always said, "That's courses for arrows."

Steve J said...

I like Walker Evans too, I just bought "American Photographs" ;)

I prefer colour though. My favourite book at the moment is Ernst Haas "Color Correction". Next week it will probably be Eggleston...again.

I don't look at art for some kind of emotional message. I feel far too much photography is trying to make us feel guilty or gushy or full of someone else's angst. It's just externalising the artists intentions which can end up being patronising.

Film, music and poetry does it better. Usually. They don't have to hammer it into you in a single blow. Once you have seen a thousand war photos one almost becomes immune, but you can read Sassoon over and over and the ghastliness hits you every time. It's what is NOT said that makes them so powerful.


I like objective, experiential photography because it's like seeing through someone else's eyes but without the fog of their interpretation interfering with the process. Emotions do well up in me - the wonder and strangeness of other times and places, the curiosity of the unfolding scene, or simply the parallels and memories from travelling similar paths (as happens to me when I see Shore's work) - but they are my emotions, not the photographer's - they just provided the stage for my imagination's own play, and I sit there and look....and dream....like staring from the window in a foreign city.

It's not all that I like, nor do I like all of it, nor would I hang everything I like in my own hallway, but my "liking" is irrelevant really. I try and figure out what the intention is and the philosophy and then I can decide if it gels, and sometimes it doesn't. I find a lot of post-modernist work (Cindy Sherman) introverted and self-indulgent but it can still be interesting (in small doses). However, once a point is made....

But I will admit to a preferance for a full canvas. I want to look around a picture, not go straight to the point. That leaves me nowhere to go and my attention wanes almost immediately.

Steve J said...

People DO have strong opinions, sadly nearly always negative....

Coasting said...

Great article and something i have been thinking about for a while now.I think u reach a stage in your photography when simply taking pretty pictures becomes a bit hollow.This is especially true with all the new cameras and software available.The decisions that were ours to make are being taken care of either by the camera or the software we use.At some point in time we have to go in search of something that puts our personal stamp or personality into the photos we take

Steve J said...

I should add that I really admire the headline photo you posted as well. It has lots of content and dynamism and is perfectly executed. It's not my "thing" but I can still appreciate a really well executed shot. It certainly does not conform to the patronising allusion I made above and it's probably something I would only manage once in a blue moon.

Steve J said...

Yes, yes and yes again. We should all take control back and stop trying to please some imagined other. It is VERY hard to do for all the reasons Kirk touched on in his OP, but we do have control and we should exercise it, even if it means lying on our back in a field and shooting clouds (ok just an example, but I am wondering what would happen if I set my camera's intervalometer and just sat on a train for an hour).

Steve J said...

Sorry to keep going on, but it doesn't say "love" to me in the direct sense, may be why I like it. It's more about new experience and wonder and growth. One of the things I love most about kids that age is the questions and I think it's that that intrigues me most. She is clearly at a music event where everyone is chilled and happy and into whatever is happening, and she is part of it but also not quite understanding it. It's great (but the context really makes the play work for me ;)

Perhaps the key to love is not love itself, but what we do instinctively because we love....our friends, our kids, our fellow man. We help them grow, we let them go, we nurse and encourage and sometimes let them discover pain for themselves so they understand. We work, we save, we pay college fees and we give up holidays. All that is love. Here is a poem by one of my favourite poets....


Hope you like it. Hope it maybe even jogs a few creative ideas. Why not poems after all?

Steve J said...

Andy, your example is bang on ;) 'Scuse pun.

atmtx said...

Perhaps it might be embraced by the mainstream but not by you. I know you don't (typically) do these things. And that is why I suggested it. Here is the quote from your post... that I was responding to.

"If you've held firmly to the same ideas, notions, prejudices and tastes for the last decade or two or three it's little wonder that your or my creativity is sitting at the curb idling.

Sometimes it's good to take a deep breath and plunge into something we thought we didn't like or wouldn't like....just to try it. "

kirk tuck said...

Okay. I'll try it.

Anonymous said...

@AndyK, Lighting is fairly simple, it's just simple physics. Inverse square, angle of incidence = angle of reflectance and a little good taste. To me craftsmanship is being able to build hand-crafted cowboy boots, not simply bouncing light off of people.

I've spent a great deal of my life lighting both stills and motion, and there isn't any magic involved. Just some simple, easy to learn, rules to follow.


Anonymous said...

The results should be a hell of a lot more interesting than the plethora of scudding clouds I've seen recently. Go for it!!


Stefan said...

Great post again Kirk! And as usual I'm too late with my reply but I do it anyway ;-)

May I add my *very* simple point of view?

I took photos the first 40 years of my life without a camera. I'm an observer of the world and I enjoy her beauty (and also her ugliness). Only the last two years I put a camera between my eye and the world and I still enjoy the visual wonders it has to offer :)

But I realize that this approach is certainly too simplistic for all professional photographers & artists ...

Kindly yours

Tim Auger said...

Interesting post. I find that great threat to creativity is not looking at other people's stuff on the web, but reproducing endlessly a series of visual templates that were implanted in one's own brain when one first took up a camera. I think I have been taking essentially the same half-dozen or so photographs since 1973, when I first borrowed my father's Nikkormat. (I think he took largely the same half-dozen photos.) I'm as likely to give up using a tree or a lamp-post as a foreground element as I am to give up drink entirely.