“I don’t know why I like this but I just do.”
You know what, when I hear someone say this from flickr to facebook I wonder what does that mean.¬ Are they saying it because they really aren’t sure why they like it, or are they saying it because they feel they can’t say they like it because maybe it isn’t up to some standard they think it should be.¬ They are worried about being judged..
I don’t think there is any kind of cold hard set list of rules that make an amazing image.¬ There are some good guidelines to follow or learn as you are starting out perhaps, maybe, but art is about creation and creation by definition implies attempting to break the rules…
It also gets me when someone shares their work and apologizes for something that they think ‘should’ be a flaw.¬ Light flare (love it), motion blur (moves people), focus shift (different is quite often nice).¬ I think that this is another version of the above statement but this person has bought into the “only one way is right” school of thought.¬ When I hear this I always think of this one of my favorite quotes:
“Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn’t a very interesting photograph.¬ If it were, they would have more to say. ”
I am asked what it is about my photographs that make them what they are, what makes them special.¬ What am I doing to get what I get.¬ I can’t say exactly.¬ I sometimes take offense when someone says “Well of course that picture is amazing you shoot with x, y or z.” ¬ Robert Doisneau said “If I knew how to take a good photograph, I’d do it every time.”¬ But I can say that while I technically know my camera inside and out.¬ I can shoot in noon sun and I can shoot after dark, I can take a technically great image with a cheap plastic toy camera and a 5k dslr.¬ I can use natural or artificial light with the same confidence.¬ I am very rarely concerned about capturing something beautifully and well because of the CONDITIONS..¬ The technical side of an image will never make anyone’s soul sing.¬ If all you are focusing on is making the exposure perfect and the image sharp you are missing the point entirely.
I believe a photograph that fulfills its purpose does steal a little of someones soul, it lays bare the real person from underneath the mask we all try to wear all the time, it is a wisp of a moment, the hint of love, anticipation, fear, hilarity, magnetism¬ – it carries with it more then can be described in words and oftentimes shows what can only be felt.
It isn’t f stop or shutter speed or focus that does that, it is the heart behind the machine that does that.
And let me tell you another secret.¬ While we are unique creatures if you love it, someone else does.¬ And if you do not love it why are you shooting it at all?