An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Taking photographs that inspire

Recently a friend asked me if I would teach her how to take photographs. That got me thinking and I realised that I know very little about the technical side of photography. Sure, I understand the basics, but beyond that I am a novice when it comes to the techniques employed in photography.
Photography for me has always been a passion and a way to communicate how I see the world, and it is only in the last couple of years, with the encouragement of my friend and business partner, that I have taken it more seriously and have begun to sell my work and take commissions. I am entirely self-taught, which may or may not be a good thing.  I rely almost totally on my eye for composition, exposure and lighting; I have never explored the use studio lighting, preferring to use natural light wherever possible; and I almost never use a tripod which I feel hampers my creativity. That said, I do appreciate the magnificent and inspiring work that other photographers create in studios and with the benefit of tertiary study in photography.

 'A bug's world' ~ a tiny metallic beetle on a tulip stem caught my eye. I loved the colors and textures when I went in close

I believe that fine art photographs need to be inspirational. Generally they are framed to be displayed on walls and need to speak to the viewer or they may just as well be patterned wallpaper. Each photographer sees and interprets the world in a different way and it is these differences that make photography so interesting and not merely records of moments in time. There is a thread of commonality amongst good photographers - a love for their craft and their chosen subjects.

'Fine Gold' ~ extreme close up of the gold tips of a burgundy daisy

For me the secret to taking images that inspire is to be open to seeing things differently each time I look at them. Sometimes an opportunity will present itself quite serendipitously and I need to make sure I am ready to take advantage of that fleeting moment when the light changes or I look up at a familiar building from an unusual vantage point and see the perfect framing. And sometimes, as happened yesterday, I am doing something quite ordinary like slicing a red pepper to put into a curry, and as I sliced it in half, the light in the kitchen made the pepper glow and I thought what a wonderful macro image it would make. So out came the camera and I shot the image. After a minute or so, the light disappeared and the pepper just looked like a vegetable again.

Everything can inspire ~ It depends totally upon your point of view!

'Brand New' ~ I wanted to communicate the angelic, soft, downy feel of the tiny creature so went in close and used the soft early morning light coming in from the side of the stable

'Ballerinas' ~ I was walking through an arts festival in a park in Indianapolis when I stumbled upon these dancers waiting behind a curtain for their show to start. The light was just perfect!

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