sarcastic. wonderful. sarcastically wonderful, you could say.
my oldest brother is the source of my interest in photography. a few years ago, he let me borrow his camera to document a move i was helping my fiance (now) make. i was hooked. not that i didn’t enjoy photography before then and certainly i’ve always had a love of art and imagery, but until then i had only used cheap equipment and took photos the way most people do. with his camera, i felt different. i felt like i had potential as a photographer. it’s silly, really. an expensive camera and equipment don’t really make you anything.
i bought my first digital slr camera in july 2007… again my brother played a huge role in helping me pick it out when he came to visit us in calgary. i’ve been struggling to embrace any hint of talent i may posess since then. whereas most days i feel like i have none, occassionally i take a picture that makes me think, “hey, this one doesn’t make me sick to my stomach.” and then i look at it for a few more days and i realize how many flaws it has.
the first few weeks with the camera were awesome. i was snapping pictures of anything and everything. i was taking pictures to learn how to get the most out of my new camera. and while i was mostly disappointed with the results, i could see progress. this is stage 1.
stage 2 is a depressing and demoralising time when nothing looks good. you look at other people’s photography and feel you’ll never reach that level. you look at people’s photography who aren’t into photography and wonder how they take better pictures than you. you think about selling your expensive camera and all of your equipment and take up another hobby you’re sure you’ll suck at just as badly. the camera rarely comes out of its big expensive bag and when it does, it just reinforces your belief that you’re not a photographer. photos are flat. they’re all badly composed. “why did i think that would make a good shot?” you continually ask yourself. and the camera sits for even longer periods in its bag.
and then one day, you’re browsing the internet and looking at other photographers’ sites hoping with everything you have that maybe you’ll find inspiration, a style that won’t make you feel like such a failure. you find something that leads to something else that leads to something that changes how you think about photography and most importantly, how you feel about your own photography.
this is stage 3.
i’m in stage 3. i used to think that the photograph had to be perfect from the moment you released the shutter. i’m sure i read in countless magazine articles and instructional books that you suck if you have to do any post-production work. and then i came across a professional photographer who shares his process with his followers on his blog. one of the most talented commercial photographers in north america with all of his expensive equipment, with masters certification with two camera brands, has a dedicated post-production person on staff. and then i found a link to another professional photographer who not only shows a huge library of his photographs, which are amazing btw, but also often includes links to how the photo looked as he took it. suddenly it didn’t seem like such a sin to edit my photos. i’ve taken photos that look like his originals. why can’t my photos be turned into something just as amazing as his? the answer is that they can be.
stage 3 is inspiration. inspiration to take photos again. inspiration to learn how to get the most of your photos. stage 3 is the launch of your own photo blog.