One of those things we do as a new photographer with a camera we like and which we’re exploring is to take hundreds or even thousands of photos during a session. We head out on each photographic mission, see a scene or composition that we like, and keep shooting the exact same scene or similar scene, repeatedly. Putting aside the fact that this is adding a huge shutter count to your SLR camera and reducing its life in your hands, this is madness.
As an analogue camera user, back in the day, I was far more mindful of every shot I took. Obviously, this was because it involved film, and film costs an extra amount of money to process if you’re sending it off to a lab. With this in mind, and the fact that you usually have a limited supply of film, you chose your shot carefully and clicked the shutter button when you were truly happy you’d (probably) captured a nicely exposed, nicely lit and well-framed image. That image would be your final image. With digital photography, the motivation to be mindful has gone. We can shoot the same scene multiple times and pick the best of a bunch in post, then crop, flip, whatever, and process to our heart’s content.
Having had a major fall out with photography – lost motivation for photography, and developing a disillusionment with the photography world at large – I have distanced myself from the process and from my images for a while. Coming back to it in small steps purely for my own enjoyment and development of my skills, I’ve taken a wholly different look at my own photography and at the process, including the approach others take.
I’m more able to be critical of my own work from a very different perspective.
The adage that less is more absolutely applies in photography. Choose only the best, choose them carefully (often this means not looking at processed images for a few days and then going back to them), and only share one or two images. Share them sparingly, share them only when you really want to, share them for yourself and maybe for a specific audience, and then walk away from it onto the next interesting project.
Photography is an art. Art is subjective. Art is personal. When you share it, you’re putting a piece of yourself out there. Share it when truly happy to do so and not for likes or a confidence boost or for confirmation of skills.
It’s kind of liberating, and can only mean more development and more fun. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks anymore, and I’m not trying to be a great photographer. I’ll keep exploring photography regardless, as I have done for over twenty years.
Images of rhododendron and an early snowdrop added here for tax.
One thought on “Less is more: January 2022”
You put your thoughts on photography very well, Clare. I think because of my age I’m doing something similar. I am alone with family members deceased, and yet continue to love photography and search for my camera, an iPhone now, when I want to capture something I see around me. I am in the stage of decluttering things or trying to, and I have yet to face the thousands of photos I have and those I’ve inherited or purchased. When I kick the bucket there will be no one person that would be that interested in my photos. So, decluttering of photos is in order, and yet I find other things to declutter instead! Keep at it.
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