I like photography, but it doesn’t like me.
I like taking photos, but they are hard to see.
I like setting shots, but they can be abstract.
I like shooting video, but we can’t all act.
I’ve made comments that I vibrate when I hold a delicate piece of electronic equipment. It’s pretty true. This new camera has a light that lets me know when I’m shaking the camera. That light is almost always on. I dunno, it doesn’t affect my shots as much as it used to. I like to think that I’m getting better at photography since my stint with it sophomore year when I took art class.
We had an assignment called the “scavenger hunt”. Professor Urbanski gave us a list of 25 (mostly) abstract concepts and told us to take a picture for each. I reveled in it at first. I knew what I wanted to do for many of them. I had grand plans for them. I thought of ways to rig lighting, of props I wanted to use… It was exciting. When we got around to it, I got the fun shots out of the way and sort of half-assed the rest. I wish I hadn’t, though. The shots that I spent more time on turned out much better.
Which brings me to a comment about staging. I’ve noticed that staging can be both a blessing and a frightening prospect. I like staging. There are photos that would have been pretty boring without the addition of a subject. I like the idea of having control over the lighting and the subject in my photos. I realize that it can be extremely difficult to do many things without professional equipment, but I have used flashlights and desk lamps in the past in order to set up shots. For instance:
Even though the photo is blurry, there are definite shapes in the windows. The shape on the left was made with a series of flashlights. The one on the right was my desk lamp. Is it a good photo? That’s up to interpretation. Knowing the furniture-moving and compromises I had to make in terms of angle, I have a bias. It’s not great composition, but it does serve as a testament to the power of everyday sources of light for photography. A later example is this photo:
That was an Eveready (sp?) flashlight.
This is also an interesting study in rigged lighting:
In the past, I’ve drawn thumbnails for the shots I’ve wanted to take. I may start doing so again. The picture above had a series of thumbnails. Everything, down to buying the LED light and uprooting the seedling, was deliberate. As a result, it’s one of the images that I’m most attached to out of the ones I’ve taken and uploaded.
On the other hand, I have many images I did not plan or expect to take. For instance, the one of Twitterless Boy jumping off his balcony:
He just does that. The Daily Shoot theme that day was “something newsworthy”. It’s not that newsworthy to me, as a regular occurrence, but if I branded it as something different… Well, I took several shots of this. Twitterless Boy had to climb up to his balcony about five times before I took a photo I liked. In the end, I made it newsworthy by labeling it as “levitating” rather than falling.
By carrying my camera everywhere with me, I’ve gotten shots that I might have missed otherwise. Most notable examples come from my walks to and from the allergy clinic. I walk to the top of a hill, and there is usually something remarkable up there. Here are a few that I’ve taken on those weekly trips:
I think the reason that these turn out better than many of my pictures is that I feel much calmer when I’m on these walks. This hill, despite its physical proximity to the school, creates a vast mental space between me and the rest of my life.
This was taken on Girl’s Night:
I love this photo. Not necessarily because it has my friends as subjects, but because I like the composition- the weight is attractive, at least to my eyes, as is the color.
I guess the final thing to think about when taking photos is that if I find the subject boring, then the photo will turn out to be crap. It’s not everything, of course, but it certainly counts enough to think about.