Friday, March 8, 2013

Let's make some mistakes!

I've been reading David duChemin's book Vision and Voice in advance of the workshop I am attending next weekend (So excited!). Naturally with a title like "Vision and Voice" he talks about vision a lot. One of the things he mentions is not being afraid to make mistakes and try out new things.

Let's think about that for a second. What exactly is a "mistake" in the photographic world? Certainly we have our technical considerations such as exposure and focus. We also have mistakes we can make with composition. (Hello tree growing out of Aunty Betty's head!). But let's assume that as we gain experience and knowledge, those types of mistakes go away. Where do we create our mistakes then?

I think that as we move along in our photographic and artistic journeys it becomes harder and harder to let loose and just create. As David  duChemin says, a 5 year old with a crayon has no problem finding his vision. And maybe that's where the mistakes are. We get stuck in the rut of capturing images of things as they "should be" and not looking for ways of portraying them as they "could be". Taking the example of the kid with the crayon, he will draw his family as stick figures. Maybe he will vary the heights to show the different people - Daddy is taller than Mommy; The kid is a bit taller than his baby sister. His house might be a basic box and triangle with a door and a window. That's not how it looks in real life though. If an adult were to draw something like that we would say that it "isn't right". But why is that? When you get down to it the crayon drawing matches what the kid sees. You can see immediately why he drew his family and what his vision is.

So back to mistakes. What errors can we make in our photography and art? I think that if we're not able to show the viewer our message then we've missed the mark. A pretty picture that is perfectly sharp and well exposed is not as effective as the one that might be technically less sound but tells a story, makes us dream or takes us to another place. And that, gentle reader, is your ultimate goal. Go somewhere and take us with you. Don't worry if you lose us along the way. We'll catch up eventually.

And because this is a photography blog I thought I'd share my vision of the Albert Memorial. I hope I've taken you with me to the early spring sunset in London where I shot this.

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