It’s Right in Front of You!
I have completed teaching a class for the South County Art Association called 'Snapshots to Great Shots'. Originally, the curriculum was conceived to expand technical knowledge and craftsmanship, so that images could be more technically refined. However, what if the vision also needed to be honed? After all, we must know what the subject of the image is, and how we feel about the subject in order to capture the essence. So, the class morphed into developing awareness and patience.
As I teach - I learn, and this class has been a great vehicle for my own explorations.
In taking more time to consider our process in the field, I can only speak from my own experience. Going out with great expectations of the images to be made can be a trap. After the original capture, what do we do? It is so easy to miss the obvious connection, the quiet & mundane, or the what is behind me. Fortunately, as I stood on Monhegan Island, a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by stars this was not the case. The night was dark and moonless, the Milky Way bright and centered. And after capturing the Milky Way, what more could be done? It was in the act of looking for more possibilities, by turning around that “Night Light” was captured.
Sometimes, we miss the essence because there's not enough time to thoroughly ‘vet’ the possibilities. Perhaps it was hidden in the darkness. Or, the expected image loomed so large that it was a ‘one and done’, without taking the opportunity to explore different points of view, orientation, or waiting for the light to change. Often, the inclination to include more in the frame than is necessary is a result of not taking the time to truly identify the thing that draws one to the subject in the first place. I have made all of these mistakes.
In taking time and being patient for the subject to reveal itself, many options can be practiced; experimenting with different shutter speeds, depths of field, orientation and camera to subject distance are all avenues of visual exploration.
There are those scenes that can be mined over and over again, given adequate time. Hopefully, we can put aside our agendas and create meaningful images.
The object is production of quality images rather than quantities of snapshots.
Taking time to truly identify what draws you to the scene in the first place may illuminate details initially undiscovered.
The goal is to find that place of authenticity, the well of my unique truth. This is where my growth is happening. I continue to learn as I by lead my students down this path.
This means developing the practice being aware of that which I have not considered, though it may be right in front of me. It is in living the experience of making the photograph, with this excitement, that I move forward on my creative journey.