There are three of us at church who have been getting together about once a month to go out and practice our photography. It is fascinating to me how all go to the same location and often shoot the “same” shots but come home with usually entirely different pictures.
An example. My favorite shot from the covered bridge trip with Jean was this one:
The shot she took which she chose to interpret for her Christmas cards this year was this one:
In Jean’s picture, I can see exactly where I was standing across the bank to take my shot. In my picture, I can get a good idea of where she was standing when she took her shot. But the different perspective gives an entirely different look to the two pictures.
, our third companion on these trips, also sees differently than I do. The day we went to The Old Mill, I came home with this shot that I’m very pleased with:
Angie came home with these two:
Another obvious difference of perspective was in our shots of the rusted machinery parts at the mill. My shot:
Is one perspective better than another? Absolutely not! God made each of us with our own eyes with which to see. I have a quote on my Facebook page (now that the election is over, and I can quit griping about people voting for who they think might win instead of voting for the candidate or party that most closely represents them – grumble, grumble, grumble) that says this:
“A photographer’s main instrument is his eyes. Strange as it may seem, many photographers choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. Those photographers are blind.” (Manuel Alvarez Bravo)
If I were to decide that the photographs I take aren’t as good as ______________ (fill in the blank with famous photographer’s name), therefore, they’re no good, I would essentially telling God that He didn’t do a good enough job when He made me (a mistake I’ve been making for most of my life). The first problem is the sheer presumption of telling the potter what he should have done with the clay. The second problem is that this kind of thinking has kept me paralyzed for most of my life because there are SO MANY photographers out there – past and present – who are so much ‘better” than I am.
But – there have been a number of studies that have come to the conclusion that greatness has much more to do with PRACTICE. Native talent only gives most people a head start. If that talent isn’t developed with PRACTICE, people who started off with no talent can quickly overtake them with PRACTICE. I hadn’t put that all together in my head real well until I was reading an article on seeing creatively by a guy whose photography was really unique and creative. As he told the story of his dream of being a photographer, saving all his money and buying boatloads of film, hopping in his car and going on a 6-month long tour of the US, coming home and getting all the film developed, and having not one picture worth saving, I could truly sympathize. I can’t tell you how many pictures of tiny little black dots (birds) in wide expanses of flat blue sky I threw away when we moved last time. Who would ever think I had a photographic bone in my body. Except there was a shot here and a shot there . . .
So I keep practicing. I love the photography trips with Jean and Angie. Beside the good company, I get to go out and practice something I absolutely love. Why do I love it when most of the time no one sees my pictures but me? Because once in a while I actually manage to capture the feeling that I had when I took the photograph, and I look at it and feel that feeling again. The covered bridge shot above is one example. Here’s another to leave you with.