This isn’t about food or sex, although it could be. When I grab the camera and go out to shoot, “What do you want?” is one of the questions that I ask myself. Sometimes I know part of the answer. I have a place or a subject and head over to photograph it.
Before I get back on topic, let’s go ahead and establish that any number of things can happen once I arrive. If you know me, then you are aware that my mind wanders and I follow it on a fairly regular basis. We can talk about what goes on when that happens in a different post. For now, let’s pretend that I am able to avoid the constant distractions.
What I shoot is almost always driven by my moods. At this stage of my life as a photographer, I am not “in demand” or “on assignment” which means I am relatively low budget on my choices. In practical terms, that means I can’t choose an exotic locale and just go there to capture wonderful scenes. Technically I can make the choice but I don’t have the money to back it up.
This is not a criticism of the photographers that have both the freedom and the money to go where they want to shoot what they want. To some degree I am saying that living in what would be called the Birmingham/Hoover Metro Area in Alabama offers a different range of choices than locations like Hawaii.
So assume I have selected a location/subject, have walked or driven to the location, and am not being sidetracked. Stop laughing, it happens, on occasion. The point is that once I get there, a number of factors influence what I shoot and how I choose to shoot it. My instinct tells me it isn’t necessary to list the factors because I will not be able to list every factor and that nobody wants to read a discussion about available light or any of the other obvious factors that have to be considered. If you are someone that wants to list the factors, you are welcome to add a comment to cover that ground for me, you can consider it as a footnote or as your contribution to the photography world. If you are someone that needs that list and wishes I had included it here, you will have to glean that information from another source.
There is wisdom in shooting a subject a lot of ways and taking a lot of photographs. Sometimes you take the “money shot” and nail it, but sometimes you are wrong. Not you specifically, I mean it collectively, so if you are the person that nails the money shot every time, without fail, then clearly that statement did not pertain to you. The previous sentence was sort of a disclaimer to cover myself because there is always the exception lurking out there somewhere. What I am saying is that even though you have selected a location and a subject, be open to what is there.
One of my favorite quotes about photography is by Ernst Haas who said, “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.”
So take your time, look around. Try to find something about the subject that captures your imagination. Look for the magic, then capture it with your camera. When you find the magic you will have answered the question, “What do you want?” and that will go a long way towards capturing something special.
I know, you are thinking this would have been a better post if it had been about food or sex. I can’t say that it would have been a better blog entry, but I am pretty sure more people would read it.