Sunday, September 18, 2016

"going pro"

I had this peculiar epiphany the other day, or maybe I'm all wrong, who knows?

Photographers do tend to start out just shooting everything. Much as I detest the "stages of the photographer" style pieces, they generally get this one right. I vaguely remember it, shooting anything that caught my eye. These days we see it even more, because digital makes it free to shoot just anything, there is no pressure to be even slightly mindful.

At some point, not too infrequently, a budding photographer looks at his or her work and finds dissatisfaction with it. I believe that, often, the dissatisfaction stems from a vague realization that these pictures have been made without mindfulness. They're all over the place. Flowers, cats, landscapes, cars, everything and anything. The budding photographer often can't figure out what's wrong, though, because they have learned about photography from the usual sources. Checking their work, they see that:
  • Focus is good
  • Exposure is good
  • Strong use of leading lines
  • Ditto rule of thirds
  • etc

What am I doing wrong? asks the befuddled photographer. The answer is you're not shooting mindfully, to any sort of purpose but nobody tells them this. Asking around will produce a collection of terrible advice from dunderheads.

At some point, not infrequently, the solution is to "go pro" which, weirdly, works. Now you're not just shooting any damn thing, you're shooting Senior Sessions. You're shooting mindfully, you're shooting one thing, you're focused on a goal. The results are still entirely gruesome, and you're almost certainly losing money hand over fist because your "accounting" is a mess and you don't actually know what it costs, but at least you get a new lease on your passion.

Which, I guess, is actually kind of a good thing, right?

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