Going back to my school days, I’m recalling the popular teenage topic of “what kind of music you listen to”…
Most often my typical reaction would be a shoulder shrug. While I did have my preferences, I was never into restricting myself into a certain type of music the way some people did. Basically, I would listen to everything that felt good to my ears.
* * *
A couple of days ago somebody asked me what kind of photography am I into. This was not coming from a hobbyist or a pro, so the question was filled with a layman’s view of the available types of photography: flowers? Models? Sunsets?
While it may sound innocent at first, think again and the question is quite reasonable. Indeed, many hobbyists do have their preferred types of photography.
At present I’m a member in 4 Facebook photography groups. Mostly, members share information like tips for specific gear or solutions for any known malfunctions. And, obviously, photos for everybody’s appreciation.
I know who normally shoots what, who belongs to which type of photography. And you’d be right to think that the gear they own is specifically suited for their type of photography.
I assume many readers will disagree with what I have to say, which I concede is debatable.
Straight to the point, I think it’s fine to have a preferred type of photography, but to some extent it’s not something I fully support.
I see shots of beautiful models gracefully executed. Excellent presentation, wide angle lens to elongate the legs, blown-own highlights for a ultra bright scene hiding the imperfections of the model’s skin. Everything with mouth watering bokeh.
I see landscape shots from fascinating locations. Magnificent scenery captured with the camera on a tripod and negative density filters for long exposure, resulting in silky smooth clouds and waterfalls. That landscape look.
I see macro shots of flowers with incredible detail and colours, water drops with amusing reflections of the surroundings. All with ultimate sharpness where needed.
And now I’m asking my provocative question.
Where is creativity in the middle of all this?
Assuming you are a hobbyist — not a pro who needs to be enveloped into a certain type of photography to earn a living — then why would you shoot again and again the same type of photos, applying the same formula, to get repeatedly the same visual effect?
I’m aware this is none of my business. If someone enjoys a certain type of photography and gets satisfaction doing it, who am I to judge something so personal?
After all, this is a hobby.
Likewise, I’m not taking away the credit and skills of photographers that produce excellent images worth appreciating, weather landscape, macro, or girls, whatever type.
However, it’s just that I feel like, hey, perhaps you have to step out of your comfort zone and try something different, to enhance your skills?..
Perhaps, instead of shaping your workflow to achieve that exact typical look you had seen a zillion times made by yourself and others, you should try something new?
Pun or no pun intended: perhaps you should try photography from a different angle?
Because sometimes it just appears to me that I’m seeing the same photo again and again.
Different photographer, different camera, different objects.
But the same concept.
Mind me, this comment is as valid to others as to my own self. Every so often I do feel I’m taking the same photograph over and over again. I’m in the same boat, so don’t take this as arrogance.
In a way, it’s like reading the same book time after time. And, as a result, the words you use to express yourself become limited to the ones therein.
Start reading different books, and potentially you will be enhancing your vocabulary.
I may not necessarily draw a conclusion out of this, or sign out this post with a blasting statement.
I just want to stress we ought to be creative when shooting. We ought to think more and shoot less. It’s not only about getting a visually appealing result.
There needs to be more substance.
Otherwise, we easily fall into indolence and keep capturing our surroundings from the same perspective on a recurrent basis.
And, on doing so, photography becomes a tasteless routine.