One of my many characteristics is to question the world and my role in it. This ‘Musings’ section reflects on some of the photography conundrums that I have thought about, faced, and sometimes confronted.
1. Photography is often seen to be a skill that anyone can do. There are other professions that have the same/similar traits – builders, artists, painters, gardeners, (…) to mention a few. I meet lots of people who don’t want to invest in something that they can do themselves – I am also ‘guilty’ of trying to do as much as I can myself; mainly to save myself hassle and save my hard earned money. Sometimes (and more times than I like to admit) my logic comes unstuck and I am left with a mess for the professionals to tidy up. My musing is to know my limitations, concentrate on what I am good at and leave it up to the experts to do what they are best at.
2. Most, if not all, people I meet as a photographer and as a regular person have a device that can capture an image. As a photographer I spend a lot of time and energy keeping on top of my game. My musing is that while there is a large element of keeping ahead of technology and making sure what you are offering clients is up-to-date, competitive and relevant, nothing will take the place of a well-composed, thought-out shot with correct lighting, that tells a story and captures an emotion.
3. I went to art school as an adult student. I was in a wonderful class that represented a broad snap-shot of our society – all walks of life seemed to be there. I had all the latest gear, the best gear. It turned out that I was OK at pure art (and so much better at photography), but when I looked around, many of the students who had the OK gear produced the best results – some going on to become both nationally and internationally recognised artists. My musing is that you don’t have to have the latest and best equipment to be a great photographer – it can help but, I don’t think it makes you great.
4. My conundrum is what do I do when people say to me ‘can you just send me that photograph you took on/at XYZ’? This comment usually renders me speechless as I really don’t know what to do with it. I usually decide that what people are wanting is for me to send my work free to them so I try to change the subject. My musing is a wish for people to recognise the skill it takes to get a good image and to, rather, ask me ‘what would it cost/is there a cost to get a copy of that photograph you took’ – then I have a chance to give an appropriate answer…
5. I have been again reminded that I am poor at manipulation and dislike it. And, again reminded that passionate people are difficult to say ‘no’ to, especially when they want something from you. Give me a good argument, no matter if it means that I am used, and I concede to their point of view. It leaves a lasting taste in my mouth, that I rather was not there. The cynic in me tells me our society calls it good sales and marketing and pays well for it. My musing, or perhaps my conundrum, is to ask why we need to be so manipulative to get what we want? What would be wrong with being upfront and not playing on ‘the heart strings’ of others to get what we want? Wouldn’t our society be better off? Perhaps that it is why I don’t get to pay the bills!