Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Being a Photographer > Business / Philosophy of Photography

Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

I take photos and then...nothing!
Old 06-30-2014   #1
itf
itchy trigger finger
 
itf's Avatar
 
itf is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: 'straya
Age: 36
Posts: 315
I take photos and then...nothing!

Does anyone else take photos, sometimes lot's of them, and then do nothing with them?

I got to a point around 2009 or 10 where I started to wonder if there was any point in what I was doing. I rarely ever did anything with any of my pictures beyond look at them for a moment, I always intended to go back and edit, print, but never did. I posted a few on here from time to time, started a blog momentarily, flickr, but lost interest, so I stopped taking photos.

Then a few months ago I was going through stuff I had stored, and there's my big box of negatives, thousands and thousands of them. So I decided to start going through them and scanning some (found my scanner too), I found I liked more of them now than when I took them (or at least noticed more of them).

Pretty soon I lost interest, and decided instead to just start taking photos again (and started thinking digital is what I need).

Now I'm wondering, what??

I started a blog, I'm trying to include some old and new and be disciplined that if I'm going to continue producing them, I should start doing something with them.

Has anyone else got the same problem? It seems crazy but when I take them I feel like I'm going to make them into something, but lose interest.

If anyone would like to see some of the pictures (if you've been here a while, you may have seen a few already): http://richardelangley.tumblr.com

Any thoughts, encouragement, derision welcome.

edit: if you go to my "about" section, please excuse it. "specialising in long form documentary" was intended as an in joke.
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #2
Darshan
Registered User
 
Darshan's Avatar
 
Darshan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 954
I take photos, even develop them but then get lazy and store the negatives away. I haven't stopped shooting though, and that's just making it worse..

Don't know what the solution is?
__________________
"Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance." - Robert Quillen

my flickr
RFF feedback
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #3
mfogiel
Registered User
 
mfogiel's Avatar
 
mfogiel is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Monaco
Posts: 4,658
It's you who has to know if photography gives you a kick. I guess, that in order to really be obsessed with photography, you probably have to have some good reason for it. Not everybody gets obsessed with hobbies, and it is perfectly normal.
So try to understand yourself, and what do you expect from photography, perhaps it is useless to impose on yourself maintaining a blog, etc, if you don't feel that drive, you can have lots of fun without external committments, just take it easy.

When I fall asleep, I usually think about photography, the same when I wake up - do you?
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #4
jsrockit
Moderator
 
jsrockit's Avatar
 
jsrockit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santiago, Chile
Age: 45
Posts: 19,746
I've done a few things to keep up with my workflow... and make it interesting.

1) Lightroom... being able to put everything into project folders that I can look at in "contact sheet" form has been really helpful when I need to go back and find images for a project. This of course requires discipline too... I always edit and look at the work and keep up with it.

2) One Book Every Month ... I make a 7" blurb book of any photograph that I think may be useful in the future for a project. This book allows me to use it as a editing tool (since its a different form than a screen) and also gives me a printed time capsule in case I never print the stuff in any other form. It makes me at least feel like I'm doing something with the photos.

3) Let time go by and re-edit the project folders... I get rid of the stuff that doesn't stand the test of time...

It really depends on what you want from photography. I enjoy editing and making books. I enjoy being out there with my camera. If you only enjoy being out there with your camera, just do it. You can always make sense of everything at a later point. Calzone on RFF photographs a lot and just keeps developing his negatives. He says he will deal with printing it all at a later date. There's nothing wrong with that approach either. Time allows you to really be harsh on your editing.
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #5
charjohncarter
Registered User
 
charjohncarter's Avatar
 
charjohncarter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Danville, CA, USA
Posts: 8,643
Don't throw the negatives away, after 30-40 years some will be great. I did that and it is really rewarding.
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #6
Mackinaw
Think Different
 
Mackinaw is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: One hour south of the Mackinaw Bridge
Posts: 3,507
Agreed. I spent our long, cold winter scanning 35mm negs and slides I shot 40 years ago. Besides finding some pretty good pics that I had long forgotten, it was an incredible trip down memory lane.

Keep any and all of your negs. You won't regret it.

Jim B.
__________________
My fancy-schmancy gallery:
http://snowcountryphotography.com

My RFF Gallery:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...user=1453&sl=m
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #7
Steve M.
Registered User
 
Steve M. is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,321
Sorta like writing a letter, putting it in an envelope w/ a stamp on it, then placing it in a drawer and never mailing it. A lot of people do that. Just writing the letter seems to be enough.

But to your particular problem. Yes, I have experienced that, which is why I've taken a break on taking and printing photos, and have returned to painting, drawing and printing. I would also suggest that you consider changing mediums. It's a good way to go.

Find yourself a fun, creative class, either at a community college or through art galleries/private teachers (NOT at a university, which would be the worst place to go) and having some fun w/ making images. Maybe even clay or pottery. Something that is hands on and gives you a finished piece at the end of the day. You'll have something you can hang on your wall or place on a table for display from the get go, and the cost of what I recommend is peanuts compared to photography. Don't think for a second that you need "talent" or any of that. In S.F., there used to be a sign in the Italian American Museum at Fort Mason that said in Italian, loosely, "there is no such thing as talent, there is only hard work and determination". I would definitely add FUN to this. It has to be fun and energizing. It's as much about the process as the end. Drawing is a skill, not a gift, and it is learned.

Even if drawing is not your thing, there are so many, many different art techniques that do not require a strong drawing discipline. Mixed media, sculpture, mono printing, etc. You can also work with your existing photos or negs in a more art like way that is a lot looser and freer than in a darkroom. Trust me, you can be a rough, inexact painter and turn out great work, but a photographer in a darkroom needs to be precise and exacting. You have to have repeatable results, at least in the beginning, which can be tedious.
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #8
zauhar
Registered User
 
zauhar's Avatar
 
zauhar is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,105
Nice work Richard! You should not be discouraged.

You may be like me - I easily get overwhelmed when confronted with too much stuff, it produces a sort of paralysis. I also have a backlog of images I am trying to deal with, and my success is limited.

mfogiel uses the magic word - workflow. People with our defect (well, I should only speak for myself) need a written step-by-step plan to follow. In your case, part of the plan should include reviewing a set of negatives or digital images. But make sure it is a FLOW - review a limited number of images and as part of the process immediately post-process, edit and put the ones you are happy with on your site.

I will see if I can follow my own advice...

Best of luck,

Randy
__________________
Philadelphia, PA
Leica M3/50mm DR Summicron/21mm SuperAngulon/
90mm Elmarit
Canon 7/50mm f1.4
Leica IIIf/Summitar/Collapsible Summicron
Yashica Electro 35
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #9
Thardy
Registered User
 
Thardy is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,180
I've been buying lots of photo books and a few prints since finding it hard to muster any motivation to get into the darkroom and print.

FWIW, I will follow your blog since I love looking at photos even though I'm not making any myself. You've got some interesting shots there.
__________________
Thomas

Flickr

Tumblr
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #10
Thardy
Registered User
 
Thardy is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,180
Quote:
Originally Posted by zauhar View Post
Nice work Richard! You should not be discouraged.



Best of luck,

Randy
Such an upbeat, positive attitude. You're my anti-internet guy of the week.
__________________
Thomas

Flickr

Tumblr
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #11
zauhar
Registered User
 
zauhar's Avatar
 
zauhar is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thardy View Post
Such an upbeat, positive attitude. You're my anti-internet guy of the week.
Thanks! Actually I despise the internet. ;-)
__________________
Philadelphia, PA
Leica M3/50mm DR Summicron/21mm SuperAngulon/
90mm Elmarit
Canon 7/50mm f1.4
Leica IIIf/Summitar/Collapsible Summicron
Yashica Electro 35
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #12
akptc
Shoot first, think later
 
akptc's Avatar
 
akptc is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kansas. OMG. Kansas.
Posts: 1,687
Maybe go see this movie
I take tons of photos and do nothing with most of them for years. Usually doesn't bother me much at all. It's sort of like adding currency to my "happy later" bank
__________________
Andy K
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #13
williams473
Registered User
 
williams473's Avatar
 
williams473 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA U.S.A.
Age: 45
Posts: 292
I'm in the camp that would side with sorting out where photography fits into your life to guide your decision. It really becomes more of a philosophical, personal problem once seen in that light. The work I looked at on your site is highly personal (and good also...). I think it's pretty common to struggle with the "what the hell do I do with this?" question.

Complicating it all, our personal work tends to intertwine with our lives, by definition right? I believe it comes down to an overall balance in one's life. I know I couldn't sort out my own reasons for why I photograph until I sorted out my life, period. I'm much more at peace with where photography fits in these days, but it took a lot of work - and not just in photography. It was very frustrating to keep trying to be the photographer I imagined I wanted to be, only to keep being what I actually am.

In fact, most of the positive changes I have seen in my photography and how it fits into my life have had little to do with photography. Once other problems in my life were dealt with, photography took it's rightful place... for me. Maybe your ambivalence is rooted in something else as well?
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #14
sevo
Fokutorendaburando
 
sevo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 6,364
Quote:
Originally Posted by itf View Post
Does anyone else take photos, sometimes lot's of them, and then do nothing with them?
Yep. But so what? Negatives or files don't take up much space. In the past, I trashed some aborted projects, but experience has told me it is worth while returning to them after years or even decades.
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #15
kxl
Social Documentary
 
kxl's Avatar
 
kxl is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sunny SoCal
Posts: 2,982
Sure, I have quite a few rolls of exposed film that are about two years old; just haven't around to developing them. They were from a batch of 60 rolls from a trip, and after developing about 25, I had enough to build a book to document that trip.

However, I've migrated to a mostly digital workflow, and shooting less film just because it is more convenient for me to sit in front of a computer to do my post-processing than it is to set up my darkroom gear in the bathroom.

I'm not an everyday shooter like a lot of people here, but when I do shoot, I tend to overindulge.
__________________
Keith
My Flickr Albums
RFF feedback


"... I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet - to see the innocence. ― Sebastiao Salgado
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #16
barnwulf
Registered User
 
barnwulf's Avatar
 
barnwulf is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ankeny, Iowa
Age: 81
Posts: 1,406
itf, some nice work on your blog and Flicker. - jim
__________________
"Basically, I no longer work for anything but the sensation I have while working."
- Alberto Giacometti (sculptor)
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #17
Morry Katz
Registered User
 
Morry Katz is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 124
You need a finished product to evaluate your work. Print some. Matte a few and frame them. Hang them on your wall and stare at theme. Do they still please you after a couple of months. Then you'll know what to do
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #18
xavoy
Registered User
 
xavoy is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 68
Wow, a great thread right here! Some sage advice.

jsrockit, the idea of producing a book once a month is genius! Maybe once a quarter is more appropriate to my output, but it's genius nonetheless. It's totally different experience to flicking through a pack of cheap 4x6" prints (which is what I do, before deciding on which photos to print larger) and will make it easier to get the opinion of others too.

Speaking of 4x6" prints, I've started carrying around a tin of them so I can get the opinion of close friends, but it's project specific. Getting peoples opinions in this way has really been enlightening, far more so than gauging likes and comments on Instagram or tumblr. I've not yet done anything with this information, but it's a long term project, and the process itself is quite fulfilling, and it's an easy way to share my work with people I care about (who wouldn't ever browse through a tumblr or Instagram feed).

I also like the monthly/quarterly book idea because I'd imagine it's an easy way to notice themes, moods, or other trends in your work, over time.

Also really like your post williams473. Certainly for me, when my life is more orderly, the purpose of my work is more obvious, and therefor the direction and intention more clear. Of course 'orderly' is relative, and when everything is up in the air I produce some interesting work which often affects my output during less turbulent times. Also, moments of crises have been the catalyst for a line of questioning that has ultimately been quite useful. Of course it's an ongoing concern, I don't ever expect to get to any real conclusions. That would likely be the death of my creative output. Constant refinement is a process I've come to love and hate, but on the whole accept.

zauhar, I'm like you in that I get easily overwhelmed. I've barely picked up a camera this last few months (relatively speaking) because I felt overwhelmed and needed to take a step back, catch up with things, and get some perspective. It's a useful process, but I'm hungry again now. My problem at the moment is more logistical than existential. (and frustrating as f...).

Anyway itf/Richard, totally digging your work! In my opinion at least, the world would be a better place if you continued to share, but I know from personal experience running web sites (photography related and otherwise) that a sense of obligation can totally kill inspiration, so do what you gotta do. And on a side note, if you are currently in Sydney, or find yourself here in the future, be sure to drop me a line.
__________________
Some of my work: Website / Tumblr / RFf Gallery / Facebook / Instagram
Possibly Not Safe For Conservative Workplaces.
  Reply With Quote

Old 06-30-2014   #19
keithp
Registered User
 
keithp is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Age: 51
Posts: 69
I like your flickr blog. I'd love to see more.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-02-2014   #20
MikeDimit
Registered User
 
MikeDimit's Avatar
 
MikeDimit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Sofia,Bulgaria
Posts: 161
A kind of with me. I shoot 8-20 films per month, develop and put them aside. Then once a month I pick a film ( I use 12 exp rolls of 36mm film) and "scan" it with my digital camera. Work on the files and I am happy for not rushing - films will last for long if stored in good conditions. Most of the times I am aware of what is on negatives just looking at them and do not have interest in printing or digitalizing them now.
__________________
Life is too serious to be taken seriously.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikedimit/
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-02-2014   #21
Sid836
Registered User
 
Sid836 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,132
Sharing your photos with others helps a lot. At least for me, even a "I like that" makes me feel great.
Also, I print them. Sometimes I stare the strongest of them, and other times I go back to printing the one that I feel could come out better and do that in a different way.

Of course you cannot be happy with everything and forever. You spend some time off of it and then you come back to that.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-02-2014   #22
rbsinto
Registered User
 
rbsinto is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada Thornhill is a suburb of Toronto
Posts: 1,609
Quote:
Originally Posted by itf View Post
Does anyone else take photos, sometimes lot's of them, and then do nothing with them?

I got to a point around 2009 or 10 where I started to wonder if there was any point in what I was doing. I rarely ever did anything with any of my pictures beyond look at them for a moment, I always intended to go back and edit, print, but never did. I posted a few on here from time to time, started a blog momentarily, flickr, but lost interest, so I stopped taking photos.

Then a few months ago I was going through stuff I had stored, and there's my big box of negatives, thousands and thousands of them. So I decided to start going through them and scanning some (found my scanner too), I found I liked more of them now than when I took them (or at least noticed more of them).

Pretty soon I lost interest, and decided instead to just start taking photos again (and started thinking digital is what I need).

Now I'm wondering, what??

I started a blog, I'm trying to include some old and new and be disciplined that if I'm going to continue producing them, I should start doing something with them.

Has anyone else got the same problem? It seems crazy but when I take them I feel like I'm going to make them into something, but lose interest.

If anyone would like to see some of the pictures (if you've been here a while, you may have seen a few already): http://richardelangley.tumblr.com

Any thoughts, encouragement, derision welcome.

edit: if you go to my "about" section, please excuse it. "specialising in long form documentary" was intended as an in joke.
I've had a similar mindset for the last few years. I go out, shoot and when I get my slides back, can barely take the time to run them through the projector.
Then the boxes pile up on the table and the slides may not be viewed, seriously culled or the ones I like scanned and posted for months or years.
Its as if it is the act of finding the subject and taking the shot is enough, and displaying the end result is immaterial.
When I take a good shot, I know its inside the camera, and that seems to be sufficient.
I don't have any clever solution for you other than to say that you'll have to push yourself to get out of the rut, by having a compelling reason to do so.
In my case, I belong to an Evaluation group that meets once a month to view each others' work and comment. This is one of the vehicles that compels me to scan some slides which, if well received by the group, will be posted on line.
I'm currently still about 35 or 40 boxes behind, but without the Evaluation Group to force me, I'd probably have at least twice as many to go through.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-02-2014   #23
Rikard
Registered User
 
Rikard is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 67
I think a lot of people who do photography for a while find themselves in the same situation as you are in now. I think the problem is that you have become proficient enough in capturing your vision, so that you now know more or less how the photos will come out. Looking at the images is not enough because there is no longer the element of wonder and surprise you may have felt in the beginning. As I see it there are two different solutions;

1. Change/Develop your vision and introduce chance in the mix. Start experimenting with really slow shutter speeds on moving objects or do double exposures. I do this and most of the time I can't wait to get the roll developed so I can see how things worked out. I'm once again a beginner who explores the medium and I'm loving it

2. Find a project. Does not have to be grand or original, but it should be personal and mean something to you. For instance, If you have family/kids or someone else you care about. Allocate one year and give yourself the task of creating the most beautiful/interesting/creative photo book you possible can. Don't sell yourself short or give up. These are probably the most important photos you will ever make.

But, maybe just taking photographs is enough? I mean, a pleasurable activity does not necessarily have to result in anything more than the joy you get from performing it.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-02-2014   #24
ABrosig
Registered User
 
ABrosig's Avatar
 
ABrosig is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Torrington WY USA
Posts: 303
I have one very loyal collector who happily takes all of my images, any and everything I shoot.

Sadly, it's me.

Kind of in the same boat. Fortunately, a good bit of what I shoot is for the newspaper. Just about everything else I'm shooting, particularly with my film cameras, is going toward my ongoing Analog Project, including through Flickr, and on my blog with the eventual goal of a book which I hope will be coming out soon.
__________________
You can teach just the basics, reading, writing and arithmetic in schools, but without art, there is nothing to read and write about.

http://andrewbrosigphotography.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrew_...7638861831706/
http://instagram.com/andrewbrosig
http://www.andrewbrosigphotography.com

In hoc loco sum
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-03-2014   #25
itf
itchy trigger finger
 
itf's Avatar
 
itf is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: 'straya
Age: 36
Posts: 315
Hi, wow, thanks everyone for the interesting discussion. It seems I'm not alone in the habit. I should add that I'm not disturbed by this tendency I've noticed, just that I noticed it and I thought it funny.

Photography isn't essential to me, but I definitely enjoy it. It's more that I've always been a watcher, and a listener and taking photos goes with that. A sort of a game I guess. In the past I've just done very little with the results, even though I do enjoy seeing the pictures come out (some of them anyway).

The only real problem I have with it is in using film, the time in processing, proofing/scanning, and the cost although relatively cheap is still significant for my income. These two factors make me question each frame and take away the spontaneous action of photographing.

As far as doing anything with the results, I guess my few abortive attempts at doing something with them have reminded me of the overflow of information of all sorts everywhere, and why add to it. The other part is that I go through a cycle of wanting everything to be complete, cohesive and perfect and for that I need time to sort everything, but then I decide I should just start little at a time (as I am now).

Add to that the endless technical stuff involving computers, colorspaces, profiles, formats, exif, and I tend towards giving up. I've spent quite a bit of time in darkrooms in the last 15 years and it seems so simple and tangible, but my recent dabbling with a digital camera makes me realise that's the way I'm going very soon.

Thanks all for the discussion.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-03-2014   #26
David Hughes
David Hughes
 
David Hughes's Avatar
 
David Hughes is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7,361
Hi,

Well, I guess I could go one better and save money and snap away and not bother to have film in the camera, since it seems redundant to many people...

But it ain't photography as I know it but then I sometimes wonder if I live in a little world of my own and have got it all wrong. The internet is what makes me wonder that most of the time.

Regards, David

PS (Edit) even more money could be saved by selling all the lenses as they won't be needed... ;-)
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-03-2014   #27
benlees
Registered User
 
benlees is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Edmonton, AB
Age: 47
Posts: 1,484
A nice thread. Lots of good advice. Your blog is a great outlet for the what photography is great at: communication. Keep at 'er!
__________________
flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-03-2014   #28
Georgiy Romanov
stray cat
 
Georgiy Romanov's Avatar
 
Georgiy Romanov is offline
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Solnechnogorsk, Russia
Posts: 112
Try to give something to people, not only take from them. Photography is not only about "take" it also about "give". When I give photographs for those who i photographed on last week and see a big smile on their face that gives me strength and recharges my batteries.

My 2 cents.
__________________
Photography works from 10 to 18
grphotography.ru
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 23:48.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.