CREATIVE CHOICES

Leica SL (Typ 601) Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.1 @ f/1.1

If photography is about anything it's about creative choices. The above photograph is 'wrong' in many ways. It has vignetting caused by a very fast lens wide open and the main subject (a statue of Lady Macbeth) is looking out of the frame and on the edge of it. And yet I like it very much. It's different, it's unusual and I'm pleased with it. 

Too often these days photography doesn't stray far from a very narrow set of parameters. The rise of the photographic internet hasn't increased experimentation, it attacks it. It doesn't encourage creativity, it stifles it. My picture may not be (is not!) a masterpiece, but at least it attempts to take a chance. I like it, many, I suspect will not. But at least it isn't taken with a sensor made by Sony. 

Sigma SD Quattro 8-16mm lens

This picture is a compositional nightmare. It slopes, it's panoramic, shot with a ultra wide angle lens and yet it cuts the subjects head in two. And I like this one too. And at least it isn't taken with a sensor..... etc. etc. 

Leica Q (Typ 116) 28mm lens wide open @ f/1.7

Nokia Lumia 1020 Smartphone

35mm film camera. I can't remember which one or what lens I used. I can't even tell you when I took it.

And there are various things 'wrong' with the above three images as well, but I like them all. And for me that's essential. I firmly believe that we have to like our own images first and foremost. It's pointless to try to conform to what is expected, but God knows that seems to be what most people on the photographic internet do. Photography is supposed to be an art form after all and I guess that makes us all artists. Now we may not be very good ones, but at least we should be making an attempt. I'm writing less posts these days and that is because of what I see as the dead hand of convergence presiding over the photographic internet like some kind of 'Big Brother'. 

But then what else can be expect when those shop assistants and failed talentless photographers dish out their second hand and second rate opinions on the gear we use, without ever looking at it in terms of what said gear can offer us creatively. I've just bought a film camera, of which more in later posts and I'm going to be exploring the joys of silver halide again. (Assuming my test rolls turn out OK.) And I bought it because I wanted to get back to something more basic. No menus, no fluff and clutter and above all no CMOS Bayer sensor made by Sony. I take a picture, I have only a fleeting memory of what was in it and I won't see it again for days. And like everything I shot on film before, it will be a surprise. Maybe a pleasant one, maybe not, but that uncertainty is part of what I find appealing. 

I love being a photographer, I love that I can earn a living creating images. I love being able to experiment and indulge my experiments. And yet why is it that I feel that I'm virtually on my own in that? I don't give a damn about dynamic range, signal to noise ratio and all the other graph and chart analysis of gear that many on the photography internet find so fascinating. I shoot on everything from smartphones to Medium Format film and I've owned and used a wide range of cameras and lenses. I'm still searching for a 'style' and yet never actually want to find it and I just love pressing that shutter button. Again and again and taking a little bit more of the world around me home with me. And hopefully I can bring something unique to that. Nothing revolutionary, just my own eyes and brain doing their thing. I make my creative choices and isn't that what it's all about?