Wednesday, May 9, 2012


One of the things I love about making photographs is that two or ten or twenty of us can come upon the exact same scene and yet choose something completely different on which to focus.  This is just one of the ideas that was reinforced last week during the photography workshop I attended. One of the most important ideas I brought home with me.

Depending on the day, our group of  fifteen participants (plus two instructors) shot at one or two different locations. We were encouraged to take our time and walk around a bit in order to check out the surroundings. To slow down and think before composing our shots. To become aware of relationships within the frame and the play of existing light. To change our perspective by placing ourselves in a variety of positions in relation to what we wanted to shoot. It's amazing how differently you will view a subject simply by taking a step to the right or to the left. By moving either in front of or behind it. By changing your lens, tilting your camera one way or the other, or moving yourself up or down. 

Most importantly, we were encouraged to ask ourselves: Why do I want to take this photograph? What about this particular scene am I attracted to? How can I arrange each element in order to communicate this?

Upon arrival, a few of the shoot locations appeared chaotic and busy and full. I'm thinking that they may have been chosen specifically for these reasons! On those days, the challenge for me at least, was to find simplicity amidst all of this. To sift through the many competing stories I saw in order to  find the one (or two or three) that meant something to me. To figure out which story it was I wanted to tell......and why. 

It wasn't easy. I can quickly become overwhelmed by too much stuff. By too many options. Additionally, some locations were naturally more attractive to me than others. I had to learn to pick and choose and pare down. To remove what might detract and cause confusion in order to highlight what worked.

This business of taking's a lot like real life.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Warmly, Margaret


Anonymous said...

Great insights! Asking yourself WHY you want to take a photo -- or do anything else -- is a helpful concept. -- Michele

Anonymous said...

Incredible photos, Margaret! I've been thinking a lot lately about choosing and paring down myself.

Lynnea Washburn said...

As a visual artist in grad school, the hardest, single most important thing I ever had to do was to visually answer the question; What do I have to say?

Just as your compelling words express your point of view, you now challenge your silent lens to do the same.

Kudos for taking on this hard pleasure, and sharing your journey with us.

thisfriendlyvillage said...

Thanks for the great comments...... We can all learn a lot by sharing with and encouraging each other!

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