When you go out to photograph, what ‘state of mind’ are you in?
Do you go out with an idea in mind, or do you ‘free-wheel?’
Both approaches are valid, depending on what you want to achieve. I have to say that for many years I would either pick a subject e.g. I might choose to photograph a Sunrise but have no real goal of what I wanted to capture, and so I would come home with anything, or sometimes I would just set off with my camera and ‘follow the light’ and see where it would take me.
Both of the above approaches produced some excellent images, some average images and of course many ‘learning experiences.’
One day at a meeting of a ‘Photo Group’ I was involved with, we were viewing a of my images when one of the members, Chris Donaldson asked me ‘what I was trying to communicate with the image?’ My answer was that “I wasn’t trying to communicate anything” I just merely took the image for fun.
As Chris mentioned, whether or not I was intentionally trying to communicate anything, didn’t matter as I was still communicating. That day, I changed the way I viewed photography. Up to that point (even though subconsciously I knew I was communicating) I wasn’t photographing for that reason. I was just photographing because I had fun.
I still have fun to this day, but since that conversation I have approached photography in a different way, in a more thoughtful way.
Next time you go out to photograph, think about why you are going and what you want to communicate?
Written by David Johnson