I really enjoy viewing stunning landscape images, but have never had the patience or the desire to put in the work to capture them, so my photographic interests have solidified into four general areas; portraiture, monochrome, architecture and ‘street’.
I read a lot. Photography books, coffee table books, photography magazines, whatever I can get my hands on. I study other people’s photography and read about how they ‘see’ their world.
I talk with local photographers whose work I enjoy, learning about their particular visions and how they go about capturing their images I’m drawn to.
Further afield, and just to name a few, Ansel Adams, Don McCullin, Steve McCurry, Terrence Donovan, Terry O’Neil, Bert Hardy, Martin Parr and John Bulmer are all ‘friends’ of mine.
As are Sally Mann, Peter Zelewski, Dawoud Bey, Tish Murtha, Ria Mishaal, John Downing, and of course William Albert Allard; the list goes on and on. All are well represented on my bookshelves.
Using all this knowledge, I compare it to my own life experiences, and by doing so I’m able to better define and fine-tune those several photographic ‘styles’ I feel comfortable ‘wearing’.
Monochrome. I love this medium. When I work in black and white, it’s for very specific reasons. The subject of course, but also the lines and textures and expressions and shadows and details are all as important. When they all come together, I believe I have a solid image, one worthy of printing.
I believe that to capture a good monochrome image, I need to find the essence of the subject, what makes the subject - whether it be a portrait, an architectural scene, or even a successful ‘street’ image - truly worth capturing.
What was I ‘seeing’ and ‘feeling’ when I released the shutter? The final image needs to encourage a viewer to linger, to explore the image and find the reasons it’s caught their attention.
If it nearly forces the viewer to explore and learn from the image then, to me, it’s a successful capture. And it can be a worthy, highly successful image, yet not be technically perfect. This is, really, the essence of who I am as a photographer.
I am not very proficient in Photoshop or other high end imaging programmes. I’ve mastered the basics that get me by, but start talking about channels and calculations and look-up-tables, and watch my eyes glaze over!
At the end of the day, I am far more interested in producing images that portray ‘life’ as I see it, rather than creating a stunning, technically perfect image that is, in a word, boring. This is certainly what draws me to the ‘street’ genre.
I’ve begun to work on my LRPS distinction. I’ve done the work and I have asked people I trust to guide me along the path to get what I consider to be the perfect representation of the subject, what I saw and felt at the time of capture. My images will be as technically perfect as I feel they need to be, and I hope the assessors will feel that commitment.
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