Friday, June 21, 2013

carolee's photo tip of the week: photograph for you

photography is contagious. because of this, in our digital age, photographers can seem over-abundant. 10 years ago there weren't near as many photographers, or maybe there were but we didn't know so much about everyone because the internet wasn't even close to what it is today. between consumer-grade digital cameras, social media and even smart phones--literally anyone can create through the medium of photography. the act of capturing what we see and experience may not be unique but what we see and how we choose to capture it should be.

so the question is: how do you get to a point where you can create images that are unique to you?

stephen voss, a really respected documentary photographer, said the following about being true to the photos that you take:

"the most damaging idea for a photographer is following a preconceived notion of the kind of photographer one is "supposed to be". this trap that imposes limits and a rigid framework on your work. truth is, on a basic level we all get to choose what kind of photographs to make, it's completely our choice and our responsibility to figure out what we want to say. while external influences exist, those best, most important photos are the ones that reflect upon the photographer himself in an intimate, thoughtful way."

so my tip? don't worry so much about what other people are creating. focus on capturing what you see and how you feel about it. that is when you're going to find yourself being the most true to who you are. and your creative flow will thank you for it. so step away from the blogs, your instagram feeds, facebook and anything else clouding your mind with images that show other peoples inspirations. step away from it all and get in touch with what inspires, motivates and speaks to you. start photographing what matters to you, not what you think will matter to others.

here's an example from my own life. more than 2.5 years ago i found out that i was pregnant. long before that i knew that i wanted to document my pregnancy in a special way. i owe the inspiration to my brother's lovely wife. she mentioned to me, when she was pregnant, that she received weekly emails showing the size of the baby in relation to fruits and veggies. she's not a photographer, but mentioned that if she was, she thought it would be cute to take pictures holding an avocado or something. that idea was planted circa 2007 or there abouts... in early 2010 my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. so there wasn't any documentation of that. but by christmas of the same year i was pregnant again and so i committed to take a progress picture every week. now in 2013, these types of progress pictures are not really unique, but when i started my series i honestly had never seen anyone do anything like what i was doing. i didn't follow blogs or see other "progress" photos. it was only after i started sharing what i was doing for me that i became aware of what was out there. the lesson? when you photograph for you- others will feel your sincerity and will appreciate what you do more than if you try to photograph to please everyone else. find your own voice! come up with a personal project that is meaningful to you. give yourself time to work on it. you'll be happy you did.

7 weeks, blueberry

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