Tag Archives: Robert

Some of The Best Photos I’ve…

Some of The Best Photos I’ve Made Were Likely Made Over 30 Years Ago

Years ago, when I first became interested in making photographs, I would actually shoot. Take pictures with only one purpose in mind and that singular purpose was to create images.

Like lots of people, eventually the creation of those photographs lead to encouraging feedback. I believe that positive feedback was what initially prompted me to want to learn more about photography.

That desire to “learn” greatly altered the path my photography was taking. The direction moved away from a desire to make photos towards an emphasis on learning how to make photos. I believe there to be a difference.

All in a sudden, nearly every photo I shot was with the purpose of learning rather than focussing specifically on the subject. I became focussed on the craft more than the art itself if that makes sense.

There is something that happens to shooters who become teachers and I think it happens early on. Interestingly enough, I think it halted my creation of images that matter to me. I got hung up on the cameras, the gear, the technique, and no longer on my desire to create images. From the learning phase I transitioned into a teaching phase wherein every photo was an example from which someone could be taught or learn.

Yes, when hired to do so, I would tell a story with my camera, but I was being paid. I was telling someone else’s story.  If I was hired to photograph something that interested me, better photographs were created.

{And now, we interrupt this programming to bring you a few photos as that is likely why you are here in the first place}

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Perspective is very interesting and at a certain age one comes to realize that you really don’t have any until you have lived for a while.

When I was first fascinated with action photography there was no money for cameras or film, literally. The shit camera my parents had made some of the best memories. The memories and the photographically prompted recollections are what photography is all about, is it not? The capture of a single moment in time in such a way, that when presented, moves us into history.

The camera that I made my first good photos with was some old 35mm manual focus Pentax thing that was lent to me. Believe it was a K1000. I really had no idea how to use it. An explanation of the sunny 16 rule rings a vague bell from way back when, but really I think the lender just set it for me and I shot. I made good photos with it. I made photos of things that interested me.

Now I am starting to look around and wondering once again, “how can I photograph that? What matters to me? What or who is special enough and impactful enough in my life to make me want to photograph it or them?”

In 2004 I started to write a book about the journey I took to really learn photography.

Some of that content will find its way in here because I spent the time writing it and feel there may as well be some use made of it.

It is very interesting to read it now and see how different a path life can take than the one a person thought they were going to take.

Right from the beginning there was a significant amount of content that mentioned my now ex-wife. Now there is a path change.

This is a path change lots of photographers seem to have in common… ex-wives. Nope, not in common that we all had the same wife, but that the craft and the business tends to impact family-life in a not-so positive fashion.

Our careers tend to be a wee bit anti-social. We work when others socialize (lots of evenings and weekends) and, if we are really into making photos, we in a rather sick way, start to resent time spent with others because we are not getting to make photographs.  There were days when we would have company over and I would sit and look at the colour of the sky thinking about the photos I could be making in that light rather than yapping about whatever happened that week in the lives of people with real jobs.

Interesting now how I am starting to see more value in the concept of those “real  jobs” because those people have social lives… and time off. Time doing some things they want to do, time not thinking about work. It’s called a work/life balance.

This shift I am feeling is not one that will take me away from making photographs or teaching others to do so, but I do believe it will have me once again taking photos because I want to and for the reasons non-photographers take photos… because they want to make pictures while bearing witness to things that matter to them.

It’s strange how for the longest time, if attending a family gathering or social function, if I picked up a camera, I quit having fun and went into work mode. Then I would start being this “editorial guy” who took tonnes of pictures, but because I was not getting paid to, never actually did anything with the pics. There is also the expectation that wherever you go, as a photographer, you are going to take photos so one really never gets any time off.

This year, I went to my family Christmas gathering and did not once pick up a camera. I just wanted to have Christmas again and enjoy the company of those important to me. Granted they probably all feel less important because this dude with a giant camera (Uncle Paparazzi) did not hassle them all day. ;)

I think this blog entry is a public admittance that this New Years Eve, for the first time ever, I’m going to make a resolution. A resolution to find a good work/life balance. Not entirely sure what that will look like and I hope it does not look like me begging for change on a street corner someplace, but I know it will involve my working less and socializing more. More friends, more recreation, more fun. Perhaps I will find a regular schedule that will afford me an opportunity to become a board member or volunteer somewhere, both things the sole proprietor of a one person enterprise  can’t do as the schedule always has to be open and flexible to revenue potential.

The one thing I won’t change this year is my desire to help people make better photographs. Outside of making good images for myself, the one thing that has always floated my boat is seeing it click for someone else. When they realize that controlling that camera has become almost second-nature and they now can get to what they really want to get to, and that is capturing images of that which is important to them.

Happy New Year y’all!

Thanks for reading and, as always, you are invited and encouraged to “share” with the buttons below as well as comment in the provided fields. I read and appreciate everything and do my best to respond promptly to all feedback made by humans.