"as a photographer you need to be true to your instincts, and then learn to use them as a starting point to create something special" and "I've always believed that photography is instinct disciplined by technique".
- so true, and exactly the philosophy that I learnt and adopted after years of thinking it was all about equipment and learning how to use it. When the realization finally occurs, it's like the lights have been switched on and one finally starts to release creativity.
This is probably your best post I've ever read. Perhaps it could also have been titled "It's not all about the gear" which some folk could be forgiven for accusing you of :)"
"It can be somewhat difficult to get a personal "photographic philosophy" down in writing, without sounding prententious. So consequently I usually don't attempt it!! As I said this was written as a reply to someone on a forum who was trying to find their "identity" as a photographer and I finally managed to get the words in the right order with the right emphasis and found I could read it back without wincing!
Much of the emphasis on gear, all over the "photographic internet", I've often thought, is a reaction to the difficulties of coming to terms with what and how we photograph and the perennial question that serious photographers ask themselves constantly "Am I any good at this." Its definitely a question I try to avoid. Am I alone in thinking that its easier to post an image with the byline, "this image shows just how sharp this lens is" rather than "look at this picture, I think I captured the light really well here"?
For me I think its partly the difficulties of putting myself in a situation whereby I suddenly become "fair game" for opinions to be voiced on my talents and abilities, such as they are. Everybodys a critic after all. I also have great problems with some of the things that certain fine art photographers and critics, write about photography, and also the way they write about it, which I find too pretentious for words.
My original post response and the consequent blog piece, were written as the result of a private conversation with a friend about how difficult it is to respond to people, often beginners, who ask for comments and criticism on forums and the like. Even though I was a college teacher in a previous life (music not photography) I still find it difficult to get the right balance between being critical while still being encouraging.
Reviewing gear is certainly easier than reviewing photography. Though as we all know, even the most innocuous comments about a camera can lead to "heated debate". But in many ways its safer. It does avoid the situation whereby we can get what we think is inappropriate praise for an image that we took on "auto-pilot" and find that an image we "wrenched from our soul" is totally ignored.
It is my plan to write more in the future about ideas, motivation, intent and appraisal, and I'd be really happy for anyone else to contribute their thoughts, which I will be happy to publish. Personally, I've always thought it fascinating to read accounts of others "personal photographic journeys" and I hope others feel the same way.
It was nice to see this morning that the "instinct" post has had a decent readership and not just disappeared beneath parts 86-106 of my latest mega review of the latest mirrorless offering!!
I'm encouraged to try some more, and I'll see how it goes and what the response might be. And I am serious about publishing some other pieces. I say often enough that this isn't a forum, but I've always been happy to recommend and link to pieces by others who I think may be of interest.
Thanks for the comments."