Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Just Shooting Stuff II

Here's a sort of thought experiment.

Suppose you're out with the camera, just shooting stuff. Looking for some good photos. Imagine that you see, parked on the street, a bright red Lamborghini Countach. If you're in to cars, even a little, you might decide to take a picture of it. Here's how your thoughts and actions might play out:

Cool car! <click>

Well, that's one way to do it. You probably won't get anything but a really uninteresting snap of a car.

Cool car! How can I make it look cool? <click>

Ok, that's better. You've got a sketch of a concept. You're probably going to make a more interesting picture. It might be a cliche, but at least you're going to think a moment, and maybe move around a bit. Depending on how sophisticated you are, you might do quite a lot here. There's a good chance that you'll get a cool-looking picture.

Cool car! How would "Road&Track" shoot it? <click>

Another viable approach. If you read the magazine and pay attention, you're going to wind up with a copy of a style. Probably a second-rate copy. But it's better than the dumb snap the first chap took, up at the top of this post.

Cool car! How do I feel about this car? <click>

(or any of any number of other ideas - How does the owner feel? What do the passers-by think of this car? How does this car related to global economy? - and so on)

This sounds like artsy crapola, and to an extent it is. But it's the beginning of making a personal photograph of the car. Do you think the car looks fast? How would you shoot it to capture that sense of speed? Do you think it looks ridiculous? How can you portray that?

You might wind up with a Road&Track shot when you're done, but in the first place probably not, and in the second place, it will still be your picture, not a copy of someone elses.

You might take the shot in a moment, in any of these cases. You might take a dozen test shots, go home, and hope to find the car again tomorrow. You might spend a month or a year or a decade shooting Lambos of various sorts.

How you execute the idea is up to you. The important thing is to have an idea, or at least to be searching for an idea.

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