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."

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Old 01-31-2012   #81
Registered User
thegman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Age: 38
Posts: 3,822
Perhaps try a totally different type of photography? Just because you're on RFF, does not mean you need to shoot "street". Maybe try some landscapes, depending on where you live and your transport options, you may be able to get some really beautiful places.
My Blog
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-31-2012   #82
Registered User
Hjortsberg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 257
thanks all
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-31-2012   #83
Koni Kowa
Registered User
Koni Kowa's Avatar
Koni Kowa is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Atlantic coast, France
Posts: 351
I don't think it will help but I bought a William Eggleston book and really found it so boring. I'll probably never be published and no one is going to recall my name as a photographer, but I'm making photography for me, myself and I... and a very few people who appreciate when I give their portraits back.

Anyway, a short depression is quite a good thing to live. Your life and photographs may benefit from it sooner than you think.

Originally Posted by Jerevan View Post
I know the feeling - taking out the camera, and then... no. But it is a threshold that you have to get over, making the photograph, and then another one, even if it feels like isn't the best you've ever made.

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working" - Pablo Picasso

And who knows, looking back at the contact sheet a few weeks later, maybe you'll see something new in it, or giving you a new idea for another photograph.
I agree that.
Tumblr - Flickr - Instagram
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-31-2012   #84
Registered User
swoop's Avatar
swoop is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New York City
Age: 35
Posts: 1,711
You can't take pictures for the sake of taking pictures. It will always turn out horrible. Photograph something because it means something to you, because you want to remember it. For example, whenever I'd go on a date i'd photograph my plate. And it recently came up as my girlfriend of nearly 4 years and the mother of my child and I were going through old pictures. We saw a plate of waffle fries and went over how'd she call me at 2am to pick her up from her dorm room just so we could go to this diner 30 miles out of the way for these fries. It's a terrible picture, grainy, the colour is all wrong. But I like it because of what it made me think of.
  Reply With Quote

Old 01-31-2012   #85
Registered User
charjohncarter's Avatar
charjohncarter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Danville, CA, USA
Posts: 7,705
Switch gears, this weekend a friend asked me to do some stills for a play he is directing. It was fun, new and revitalizing. Even though I used a DSLR I still was up after the shoot, and for the first time enjoyed using digital. The female lead liked my shots and asked me to do some promotional photos of her. I have never done many portraits, but what the heck (I'll use film for those).
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-05-2012   #86
Registered User
mdarnton is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,199
I've gone through the same disillusionment, and the way I've solved it is to only take pictures of things that are meaningful to ME. Basically, that means pictures of the things and people that happen around me in my normal life, especially the people. Street photography is the antithesis of this, and perhaps that's why I've never related to it--pictures of people I don't know and don't care about. On the other hand, I love seeing other people pictures of their family and friends--those who they care about.
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2012   #87
Old Toys
Alfasud's Avatar
Alfasud is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 352
This is a great idea. I think I'll try it.
Contax IIIa, Konica I Type Cs, Konica III, Vitessa L Ultron, Leica iiif (RD), Rollei 35, Minox B, ZI Nettar 510/2,, HP Photosmart 945, Kiev 4.

If I age as well as my cameras, I'll do all right
  Reply With Quote

Old 02-25-2012   #88
Registered User
rovnguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 273
When I started out over 50 years ago I shot mostly landscapes. I didn't want any people in my photos. Then about 20 years ago I realized that the places I was shooting looked pretty much the same thousands of years before I showed up with my camera. But the people were changing. And thats where I've been since the revelation... shooting people in these places. It has become much more satisfying since I made peace with myself.
<a href='http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=141'>My Gallery</a>
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-05-2012   #89
Registered User
print44 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 208
First, fallow periods are useful - they allow for re-charging. If you're feeling fed up with photography then try writing something? Make something. Try avoiding creativity altogether.

I think photography is a very difficult subject to think about. It's not something that opens up straightforwardly. You can easily tie yourself up in knots worrying about whether what you're shooting is any good or not. I'm sure all creatives have similar concerns, but photography is so instinctive, so ephemeral and, at the moment of shooting, subconscious that perhaps the concerns of a sculptor or a painter (for example) are quite different.

If you're not earning your living from photography then it's more about carrying a camera every day and taking pictures I'd say. The doubts may continue, but there'll gradually accrue a body of pictorial evidence which will show that you actually can take decent pictures. That should be enough to silence the part of your brain which tries to edit out the images before you can even shoot them.

Then, I think, posting stuff on here in the Gallery is a superb way to separate the wheat - in your own mind - from the chaff. Once they're up there it's amazing how you more easily spot the half decent ones from the ones you thought were OK but somehow now don't quite make it.

Finally, though I like the idea of 'projects' I seem to find them difficult to dream up. If you're spending ages looking for and thinking about, but ultimately not happening upon a particular theme then the chances are you're not concentrating fully on taking pictures of what you find around you. I also think that no matter how commonplace your own surroundings are to you, someone like me might find them fascinating.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-07-2012   #90
Registered User
Hjortsberg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 257
thanks again, everyone.

the thread has got some legs...
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-07-2012   #91
Registered User
Araakii is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 507
I have the same feeling too so that's why I don't shoot a lot of things. The things that I actually shoot I make sure that they are at least somewhat unique, either because of content, style or technique. So if they were unique, then no one can say they do a better job than I do.
My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-08-2012   #92
Thin Air, Bright Sun
JoeV's Avatar
JoeV is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA
Posts: 1,628
Lots of good advice here, so I'll just chime in with what works for me. I shoot with a mix of digital and film cameras, and work with a variety of subject matter, from landscape to urban documentary. But when I start to feel dry and worn out, I always return to my B/W darkroom roots, especially pinhole cameras, large paper negatives, and now the Harman direct positive fiber paper. These seem to be an organic, hands-on antidote to working with graphic image files on computer screens. They're tangibly real, and this grounds me.

Going forward, I'd really like to start doing wet plate collodion, along with more iphoneography. Yea, both opposite ends of the technology spectrum, and both highly rewarding to me.

"If your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light"

Inventor of the Light Pipe Array
My Blog
My latest book
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-16-2012   #93
Registered User
mrrobleyleica is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 47
Originally Posted by Hjortsberg View Post
I'll try to explain it the best I can:

Sometimes I see a picture and I reach for the camera and I think, "Well, someone else has shot this better then me so why bother?" This recently happened when I took a photo of a fork, knife, spoon and plate sitting on a local lunch counter. When the picture came back, well, it was a nice little photo. But William Eggleston has already done it. And better, mind you. I went walking around a local suburb looking for photos and they all seemed like Robert Adams photos. I got kinda really bummed out that day and haven't fully recovered.

Now please don't get preachy about the joy is in the process, because, you know I'm having a great time learning. It's funny how little I do know about photography. It makes me laugh, you know. And I'm at an age where I know fame, fortune, woman, parties, gallery shows, publication, etc will never, ever come my way. And with age and life experience I know that that is not what it's about. Please understand I'm not looking for that nor do I want it.

However, I've fallen into a depression and can't get out of it. I feel kinda sad going out shooting.

I don't know, you know...
I know what you mean.
In a way t's a shame you've seen the Eggleston and similar. If you hadn't seen his work would you find it easier - would you take photos in the style of those?

If you think you would you should still go do it. Whatever you take, nobody else has done it before. Sorry if this is obvious, I know it is.

When I was at art college there was a superb library, in a Tudor mansion in the countryside in the UK, it had hand painted Chinese wallpaper. It was hard to look at the books and it was free back then.
I thought we shouldn't be allowed to use it to lok at art. It was a place that could either inspire, copy or depress and demotivate. Depends on the individual.

If you found the work you wanted to do, maybe done many years before, it took the wind from your sails. The journey - the learning - should be enough, but sometimes it isn't. College would help, because if you didn't do something, good or bad, it was a waste of time. How you find the way back in is the difficult bit.

I know this may sound unoriginal and obvious too. What about picking a theme? I've started doing a series about things I think are typically British, things that show / or explode stereotypical stuff, that show old fashion values - even in the grim inner city where they are hard to find. It's a starting point and searching for it is fun. It's broad and pretty much everywhere, so it's not making it too difficult form the start. When you find the photo - apply your values.

I'm sure you'll get help on this forum if this doesn't.
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-28-2012   #94
Fez Parker
Registered User
Fez Parker is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Hayle in Cornwall
Age: 53
Posts: 39
quite a successful photographer once said ''Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.''

I recon that we should treat photography like Angling!! - enjoy going to beautiful places, practice the hunt and realise that you will catch lots of tiddlers before a specimen - Only a few people can hold the record, but it doesn't stop thousands from chasing it.

Quote... "The least important thing about fishing is catching a fish."
  Reply With Quote

Old 05-29-2012   #95
surfer dude
Registered User
surfer dude is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 414
HCB - "quite a successful photographer". That's a new one for his CV!
  Reply With Quote

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 19:52.

vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, 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.