the photoshooter's journey from taking to making

FIND YOURSELF A KID

DSC02897_2_2By MICHAEL PERKINS

“MAKING PHOTOGRAPHS” IS ONLY HALF OF PHOTOGRAPHY. The other half consists of placing yourself in the oncoming path of that runaway truck Experience so that you can’t help getting run over, then trying to get the license plate of the truck to learn something from the crash. You need to keep placing your complacency and comfort in harm’s way in order to advance, to continue your ongoing search for better ways to see. Thus the role models or educational models you choose matter, and matter greatly.

Lately, much as I thrive on wisdom from the masters and elders of photography, I am relying more and more on creative energy and ideas from people who are just learning to take pictures. This may sound like I am taking driving lessons from toddlers instead of licensed instructors, but think about it a moment.

Yes, nothing teaches like experience….seasoned, life-tested experience. Righty right right. But art is about curiosity and fearlessness, and nothing says “open to possibility” like a 20-year-old hosting a podcast on what could happen “if you try this” with a camera. It is the fact that the young are unsure of how things will come out (the curiosity) DSC_0595which impels them to hurry up and try something to find out (the fearlessness). Moreover, if they were raised with only the digital world as a reference point, they are less intimidated by the prospect of failure, since they are basically shooting for free and their universe is one of infinite do-overs. There is no wrong photograph, unless it’s the one you just didn’t try for.

Best of all, photography, always the most democratic of arts, has just become insanely more so, by putting some kind of camera in literally everyone’s fist. There is no more exclusive men’s club entitlement to being a shooter. You just need the will. Ease of operation and distribution means no one can be excluded from the discussion, and this means a tidal wave of input from those just learning to love making pictures.

One joke going around the tech geek community in recent years involves an old lady who calls up Best Buy and frets, “I need to hook up my computer!”, to which the clerk replies, “That’s easy. Got a grandchild?”

Find yourself a path. Find yourself a world of influences and approaches for your photography. And, occasionally, find yourself a kid.

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2 responses

  1. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

    May 11, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    • Geez, sorry that the great interweb sump pump sucked up your original note. Thanks for taking the time for the second draft. I truly appreciate the visit, and come back anytime!

      May 11, 2014 at 9:31 PM

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