As trainers at the London Institute of Photography we are always asked about inspiration and where to find it.
What If You Took A Photo Of Every Moment Of Your Life?
It seems there is an overwhelming feeling that we need to travel or be in an exotic place in order to take interesting pictures.
There is also the suggestion that everything has been photographed before and that there is just too much competition out there.
Well, we as trainers acknowledge the wonderful work of photographers past and explain that it is not the equipment or the location that matter, but YOUR story, YOUR values, YOUR opinion and YOUR personality that makes us study the layers of your photography. Yes, it is true, anyone can take an image of a still-life or a portrait, but it is the way you read the light, connect with your subject, and the story you want to tell that is important.
Students sometimes suggest they have no time, nor the equipment, to get the images they want, and feel they can’t begin until they have all these things in place.
Again, this is not true. The digital age has brought about a quick turn-around of cameras and there is now so much choice, that it leaves one feeling dizzy trying to compare one piece of equipment versus another and know which one does what.
But we DO have time. We can photograph on the bus to work. We can photograph the café where we get our morning coffee. We can photograph a bridge, a shop, a spot we are attracted to, a self -portrait or a person we love. We have it all at our finger-tips.
So, what you took a photograph of every moment of your life?
What if you started to document every moment of what you might consider a mundane life? Rather than trying to change our external circumstances, it up to us as photographers to find photographic opportunities within the life we already live.
- If you have a child or partner you love, make that child or partner part of your photographic project
- If you have a long journey to work, take photos of it
- If you are sad and miserable with your life, photograph your anguish
- If you love your life, photograph how much you love life
- If you have nobody else to photograph, photograph self-portraits in the mirror, of your shadow, or shoot yourself with your camera in timer mode on a tripod. For inspiration look at Diane Arbus.
Try not to be concerned with how many likes you may receive on social media but concentrate on what you love. What you feel is relevant to you and the viewer will engage with that. Your heart.
Why are you taking images and what are they of? Are they for social media and to gain as many followers and likes? Or are you interested in something more fundamental, something more important than that?
Something to think about:
The bigger your camera, possibly the less likely you are going to take it everywhere with you and then the fewer images you will take. Who really cares about “image quality’ anymore unless you are a commercial of fashion photographer who needs to blow their images to billboard size? 99% of viewers look at photos on a 5-inch smartphone screen and, honestly, how many of us really print all our images? The question is why do we need 40+ megapixels? Seemingly newspaper photographers are now photographing in Jpeg and submitting photos that are resized to 1500px wide. So, yes, you DO have the equipment.
To sum up:
You are what is important. Your opinion is what we want to see.
Document and take your camera with you everywhere and photograph what you find interesting – and not what you think others might want you to capture, or what you think you are expected to do.
To find out more about the courses at the London Institute of Photography, contact us today!