Saturday, November 03, 2012

Photograph what you like the way you like

click photo to enlarge
Photographers, perhaps more than many others who work in the field of visual arts and crafts, seem to take far too much notice of the opinions of others. Perhaps it's due to the fact that photography is a mixture of the technical and the artistic. Or it could be because the camera is a consumer durable, heavily marketed, constantly updated, available in multiple forms and hence subject to the familiar tyranny of choice, analysis paralysis and information overload that afflicts much buying today. If you agonise over the camera you buy, visiting countless websites, absorbing myriad opinions, listening to the informed, the opinionated, the "brand fans" and the mildly deranged, there's small wonder that you do the same when it comes to deciding what and how to photograph.

There are plenty of people who will tell you what is a good photographic subject and what are the "best" ways of taking a photograph. The problem is that if you follow this - often contrary - advice, you'll end up making images that look like everyone else's that please them, not you. Of course, if you ignore all the siren voices you may well end up doing that anyway because it's difficult to ignore photographs in our everyday lives and seeing so much we are very likely to be influenced by it. Nonetheless, I consider the best advice anyone can give to a photographer is, "photograph what you like the way you like." Given that is my view you'll realise I've not been one for camera clubs, books about photography, photographic qualifications, competitions or the the lure of professional photography. For me - and I'm only speaking about me here - all those have the potential to limit my photography rather than expand or deepen it. I do like to look at the photographs made by other photographers and I am interested in the wider visual arts and photography's place therein. But beyond that I just like to make pictures that please me!

Looking at today's offering and some of my other shots you might legitimately wonder whether it's so different from anyone else's output. Some of my work clearly is mainstream. However, some of my other images are, I think, less so. If I have a defining characteristic it is that I have no defining characteristic. In that respect my photography reflects my personality; I enjoy and pursue a wide range of interests and specialise in none.

The shot above of the Thames embankment lights at Rotherhithe, with Canary Wharf in the background, is a subject that I've photographed a few times before on visits to London, though I've only previously posted this fog-shrouded example.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 50mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On