Friday, April 24, 2009

the OLD SCHOOL (random thoughts on photography)

preface: i was a miserable printer, an adiquate designer... but i could could be a great photog...
if i only had a voice. (to the tune of the scarecrow's song in wiz of oz)

on a tip from chase jarvis, i've been been reading Doug Menuez's blog lately. MR MENUEZ has a knack for gut wrenching clarity and depth in his writing. ESP love the ZEN of FILM entry. i'm guilty of giving the "equipment" too much credit in the art of photography. that is probably the reason i've amassed an obscene amount of gear by most standards. BUT, it turns out photography is much like the saying we had when i used to race mountain bikes... "a two-thousand dollar bike doesn't make up for a two-dollar pair of legs." it is challenging to consider how approachable photography is as an art - if you plan to make a living as yet another of the thousands of photographers out there. when i first started getting paid to shoot my plan was to out-gun the competition. i would have the best equipment i could afford and certainly better than any local competition. part of that was my desire to have the BEST images quality available (a hold over sentiment from my days of scanning DAVID CROSBY's beautiful 4X5 film) and partly because i was trying to compensate for a lack of vision. i used to feel like i had to pull out enough "camera stuff" to justify my day rate. i'm like the antithesis of the wonderful story CROSBY used to tell of a photographer who showed up to a shoot for macy's (or something like that) with one little camera... when then kinda freaked out and ask about his equip - light and such - he replied - you hired because of my work, this is how a capture my work. i had no "look" and therefore felt obligated to own every consevable piece of equipment to capture WHATEVER a client my want. (that turn out to be an expensive cry for help) i've learned allot in my relatively short life as a professional photographer, i've hung out with college photography students and watched them capture images with their consumers level dslr's that quite frankly i wish i had shot - or even thought of shooting. i've also spent time with an amazing retired photographer who shot primarily beautiful 8X10 food shots, but then shot argueably the most influential campaign in advertising with 35mm. those die transfers hang in his studio now... no D3X, no AFS, no teathered QUAD CORE just RAW PHOTOGRAPHY. he always tells me, "don't get so caught up in the technical that you miss the image." the implied i guess is that you see "the image" in the first place. ZACK ARIAS always challenges people to find their "voice" as a photographer and not fall into the trap of becoming a "generalist." great idea - albeit easier said than done. my thought was always, do it all and you'll get more work. true - but as DOUG MENUEZ points out - you might also die a little inside (my paraphase). i've been there - that is why i'm no longer in printing. i play all the previous statements against the backdrop of my father's words... "whatever you decide to do with your life - be the BEST"

- SO WHAT does all that mean? -

it means this...

i embrace the fact that it feels a vacation to shoot polaroids with the olds RZs.
i love being in the middle of the action with a NIKON point into the sun.
i recognize that tight candid shots of faces make me smile.
i admit - that it is not the next piece of equipment i buy that makes me a better photographer - i need to shoot more with the equipment i have.
i recognized the extraordinary blessing it is to make a living with your creativity.
i consider it a complement when an A.D. says i have an almost irritating desire to be great.
i desire critique more than accolades

and I WILL DEVELOP MY OWN STYLE... and i appreciate any thing that pushed me in that direction.

GOD BLESS you if you worked your way through this tirade...

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