Sunday, November 1, 2009
When you have to pinch yourself...
Photography's a funny thing. When you think about it anybody can do it. Hell my 4 year old manages to do a pretty good job of grasping the camera in his little hands and snapping away. And therein lies the problem.
If anybody can do it how are we supposed to be different as image makers than any other of the billions of photographers out there?
You need to find the stuff that makes you want to pinch yourself. For me it's travel and nature, but just hopping on a plane or going bush isn't enough to excite me. That's just like photography - if you've got the money anybody can do it.
Those rare moments where you're in the zone, totally concentrated on getting an image. When you're not thinking of anything else but the scene playing out in front of your lens. When you can scarcely believe your own eyes at how beautiful something is and you just know that you have to take a fantastic photo to do it justice. That's how you differentiate yourself. Because for every one of us that pinch yourself moment is going to be different.
This image was taken from halfway up Dune 45 in Sossusvlei, Namibia, Southern Africa. Why half way up? Because as I struggled up the dune I could see lots of other people already on the summit waiting for the sunrise. And there I was in this eerie silence, just the sand blowing around my feet in the cool morning breeze before dawn. And I looked out and I could see the mist on the valley floor and tell where the sun was going to come up by the way the sky was getting lighter behind the distant mountains.
And at that instant I knew that I had to experience this alone. That being surrounded by twenty other people was going to take away from the feelings I was having. So I sat down and set my tripod up and waited as nature put on her performance. And it felt like it was just for me. And it moved me incredibly. And I hope that this photograph shows you all just how much it moved me.
Remember just because you can point the camera at anything and take a photo doesn't mean you should. Show me the passion. Show me the love. I don't care whether the focus is perfect, you've got the right shutter speed or aperture. All I care about is the subject and how it moved you. When you can figure that out you're on your way to creating images that move other people as well. Just remember if it doesn't move you it sure as hell isn't going to move anybody else.