Chasing rainbows with a butterfly net
My interest in photography is relatively recent and as I have no idea yet whether I have enough talent to justify buying myself an SLR camera I have so far been taking photographs with my iPhone and occasionally a normal digital camera, nothing fancy, just point and click.
I love learning. Separate from the actual content of the knowledge being learned, I enjoy the process of hearing new things, forming new neural connections and expanding my experience of life. I don’t know what it does to me, but I get a feeling of the space in my head literally widening and becoming more expansive.
Anyway the whole point of that was that while meandering through the photography blogosphere I came across this entry by Scott Bourne (here) talking about photographers you should know about. He mentioned Henri Cartier-Bresson. Several points in his writing stood out to me.
A quote that was open to interpretation,
“Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Immediately I felt an affinity to this man. The idea that photography was about being satisfied within yourself that you have captured the image that you wanted in a way that makes you pleased and that should be the end of your journey with it. I have no idea what he meant by the statement, but to me it said ‘be self satisfied and that should be all that matters”. The interpretation and judgement of the image by others is not the concern of the photographer. An image will mean different things to different people anyway. It made me wonder at blogging? Am I not here to validate myself through others? Hang on, I am getting way to philosophical. I am stopping that train of thought right there and moving on.
The other thing that stood out to me in this blog entry was this,
‘All that said, the two biggest lessons I’ve learned from my study of Bresson are:
1. The precise moment is more important than the event where the moment takes place.
2. The subject of the photo is always more important than the hobby, craft, science or art of photography.’
Concerning the first point, even in my limited experience I have found this to be a core truth. I would much rather take a photograph that captures something meaningful such as the look of love between a mother and child than the two of them smiling at the camera in a nice setting.
For example, I found my son E watching TV on his tricycle wearing a crown he had made. It is not an ideal setting. The sun is glaring through the window and there is mess all over the room, but I love this photo none-the-less because it captured a moment that is priceless to me.
And finally the second point. I feel that it is the truth that if an image is interesting it can be caught irrelevant of the technical side of things. But that perhaps the latter can and should enhance the former. Which brings me neatly around to the beginning of my thoughts. My iPhone is not ideal, but it is an opportunity to focus on the things that matter at grass roots level before concerning myself with other more complicated technicalities.
I am… enjoying the journey.