I was at a loss an hour ago about what to post for today’s photo. I could have interpreted it reflection on the year past, but I didn’t have time to get that deep and meaningful.
Instead my son wouldn’t go to sleep. He stayed up for a bit longer than usual so that he could see our Christmas lights that we turn on when it gets dark (about 8:30pm due to daylight saving time). Then I lit up some candles we have in our house and I asked him what he thought of our angel candle you can see inthe background. The heat from the candle flame makes the convection wheel spin like a windmill, moving the angels and casting a light on the wall. He looked and said he liked it. Then he asked me if that was a reflection in Garp’s bowl (Garp is his goldfish)? He looked confused after as I yelled “Yes!” and I ran from the room. “Are you OK Mummy?” he asked me? I replied that I was OK, but I needed to get the camera. Lucky for the eyes of a three year old!
Recently I have been increasingly frustrated by my photographs.
I came upon this blog post by Otto von Münchow accidentally in my browsing about photographic vision and it dawned on me that my frustration is twofold.
Firstly, I am impatient at the gap between my creative mind and my photographic skill. My ability to manouvre and capture with my camera the images that I see in my head are worlds apart. There is little I can do about that except practise and take as many opportunities to try and try again in order to see improvement over time. I accept that. I am cutting myself a break. I have only been doing this since May. I can’t expect miracles.
Secondly, I have been taking opportunistic photos. I have my camera handy when possible and snap a quick photo here and there. The blog post, along with a comment that photographer and fellow blogger Mel Mann left for me asking me whether I felt that I had captured the feeling of air, made me think. YES, THINK. I really should have been thinking more often, earlier. I can only say that I am swept up in the rush of life with young children and that I am trying to fit everything in. But I can see upon reflection that my frustration was in the lack of intent in many of my photos. Looking back at many of them I see plenty of objects, but my favourites include images that tell a story. My children ‘hunting’ a shadow speaks of the imagination and fun of childhood, a couple in my photography class in an intimate moment supporting each other in their learning, even a flower in my garden showing the delicacy of its nature using light. All of these photos were taken with intent. I had a vision of what I wanted to show and tried to convey it in an image. Whether or not other people liked them is largely irrelevent to me because I am satisfied with them.
So it is my resolve to try (where possible – I am realistic and I know that I have limited time) more often to start with a vision and try to create it. I have no idea whether I am capable of that. I am sure the results will be highly varied in their success. I can only try. If I keep trying eventually I will get better at it.
The first point given in the list of points about composition in photography was,
‘1. Be clear on your subject. What story are you trying to tell with the photo?’
I decided to start with what I know…sort of. This is my son W. He is clearly the subject. I wanted to take a photo that spoke about the experience of babies. They are always put somewhere to watch or be entertained by others. I often wonder about his experience of life and what he thinks about watching and waiting. He never likes to be left passive for long. He is a participator and I am sure he will be more satisfied when he has more control over his actions.
I am not sure it is necessarily a good photo, but I am learning.