Since Ray Bradbury passed away last week, I have been thinking more about his work. He is one of my favorite authors; my favorite story of his is The Highway from The Illustrated Man. The imagery in that story is so vivid, I see Hernando in his field every time Bradbury comes to mind.
Today I came across a lecture he gave back in 2001. I couldn’t help but think how much his advice on writing could be applied to photography. His point about “writing with joy” especially resonated with me. I had to put photography aside in the past because it became too much like work.
I also like what he said about using “word association” to counter writers block. It is discouraging when you want to make something but you feel like you can’t. Over the past few weeks I have been going along with his advice of “just [take a picture of] any old thing that comes into your head”. It helps the creativity to flow, and I am often surprised at what turns out to be an interesting photo.
Some of the greatest strengths of digital photography are also some of the greatest weaknesses. Shooting digital is essentially free once you have the initial cost of the camera out of the way. Shooting film there is additional cost involved. Shooting film you have to wait to see how it turned out. Shooting digital you have instant feedback. It seems that shooting digital will help you learn quickly because you have quick feedback, but that is not the case. When there is cost involved, be it time or money, you are more intentional. When you have to wait to see, you will make sure that you do it right. Do you want to create better photos? Slow down. After all, who wants to sort through 400 photos after a day trip to the zoo? Think about what you are going to do before you press the shutter. Be intentional, you will spend less time wondering how it will turn out.
I pay too much attention to technical details, often to the exclusion of all else. For example, I will worry about blowing the highlights, only to end up with a bunch of under-exposed photos. I constantly work to remember the overall goal so I do not get lost in details that do not matter. It is important to understand the way things work, but not at the expense of the photo.
How did we get get here? This is my second try at publishing. This time it will be different. Or will it? After having burned out, this is my attempt to reconnect with photography. I hope to be transparent here, like other photographers I look up to, who have inspired me not to give up and to not become distracted.