If I could choose my preferred way to be enlightened, entertained, escorted and enamoured or surprised, scared, shocked and soothed, then I would choose photography. I would choose a medium that could tell us how it is with a glimpse of what was and an idea of what could be. You see, it isn’t spelled out to us as would be seen in a movie or a written story. Nope, the eye has to piece things together by connecting both the clues given in the story and the emotions that we have stored from past experience associated with those clues. It is a perfect marriage of logic and heart, science and faith, what was and what could be, fact and fiction.
Well I have managed to talk myself into becoming obsessed with the gift at our fingertips, what about you?
A little advice that I try to follow is one that I have only ever heard from my mother … ‘always let your eyes fall on good art’.
Advancing on this gift available for us all does not start with choosing the best lens type or camera body, acquiring technical ability or technical understanding (thankfully for me) or even creative ability. The first step is to train your eye by feasting on the work of others. Choose work that surpasses your own expectations, speaks to you, seems effortless and most of all, choose work that make your eyes feel like they are being fed. You don’t have to like the story or understand the concept or even like the content (although it does help). When your eyes are being fed, you don’t even know what you are looking at exactly, you just know that it looks right.
Where can I start you ask?
Eugene Smith is a great starting point.
Edward Hopper – I know, I know, he was a painter but I personally think he has a photographers eye with how he accounts for lights and darks in his compositions.
Lastly, here is a link to a website with a banquet of photographers so help yourself!
Do you have a any favourites? I’d love to hear them as I am always searching for a photo fix.