Winging It

The above link is for an article posted by Dan James on his excellent, and often thought provoking blog, 35Hunter.
In brief, he muses on the possibility that the way people generally approach their everyday life life echoes in the way that they practise their photography.

He ends, as he does on every post, with a question for his readers.

How do you photograph, and is it similar to how you do everything else?

My reply: Umm… yes. Generally completely spontaneous experiments with outbreaks of pleasant surprise.

It’s much the same for my blog posting too. I know that Dan is a well organised and prepared sort of chap and his articles are thoughtfully written and scheduled to be posted in a regular rhythm.

Whereas I might have sat down an hour ago and thought to myself
‘I know, I’ve got a couple of nice shots I’ve done recently, I’ll do a blog post… Now, what flimsy premise for showing them can I think of…?’

And I might have last done that just a week ago (it was actually) or it might have been a couple of months ago.

My enthusiasm for photography itself seems to go like that.

It’s not so much a time issue, it’s just not an all consuming ‘passion’ that has me voraciously reading about it and wanting to talk about it in online communities, studying books or visiting galleries or whatever.

Perhaps because I was involved in it professionally, with a sort of daily intensity for which the maths is a bit terrifying – that’s 25 years at 5 days a week and for 9 hours per day on average, talking cameras, lenses, techniques and everything else. Exhibiting, demonstrating, selling, managing and earning from it.

I’m not saying I know it all, just that not much of it is a total mystery to me.

Anyway, perhaps that’s why I enjoy the slight lack of control over the final result in this style of imagery. Like a reaction against knowing all the ‘right’ ways but seeing what happens when I let it go.

But not a complete lack of control. That would be really anarchic.

A bit like my blog posting schedule. And yes, like my life.


8 thoughts on “Winging It”

  1. Thanks for the mention and link Bear.

    It seems perfectly logical that after working in the industry for so long you became almost saturated in cameras and would want space from them in some way. And from this it also follows that breaking free of some of the predictable control of every last aspect that cameras today give us, is very appealing, hence your evolving abstracts series.

    I go through phases in terms of control too. For a while I love a DSLR, with full control over aperture and depth of field, and the option to change lenses. This can last for months.

    Then I switch back to compacts, because they’re simpler, only have one lens (and sometimes that’s a fixed one, like my Ricoh GRD III, probably the ultimate compact), more direct, so much smaller and lighter, and give photography a kind of refresh for me.

    Then after a while I’ll yearn for that depth and control again and drift back to the DSLRs…

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    1. You are very welcome Dan.

      A lot of ‘blowing hot and cold’ in my life.
      I do find it harder to settle and concentrate on any one subject since my stroke nine years ago now. I always really enjoy photography (and probably the reviewing and editing the results afterwards just as much) when I do have the feel for it, but that feeling for it comes and goes, sometimes with huge gaps. But yes, I’ve rather exhausted the equipment enthusiasm bugs.

      I’m the same with a lot of other stuff now too, notably the writing thing.

      It may be related to how much energy (or more often, not) I have to spare on actively thinking and having any creative ideas. There are a lot of days, because of the MS as well, where keeping my eyes open is an effort, so it’s not really a surprise that the ideas and thinking departments aren’t open at those times either. Today is a ‘can manage to read and write day’ so far, but it’ll tail off in a couple of hours and then we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.

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      1. I don’t think I knew you had a stroke too Bear.

        I’ve been a bit unwell (stomach) the last few days, and aside from the physical pain and discomfort, I’m always knocked back by how much it effects my mental state too. When I feel better again I appreciate it all the more.

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      2. Thankfully a long time ago now and I have managed to regain (and in most ways, improve on) all the physical attributes I had before it. Just MS takes me out now (and it takes out the opposite side to the one the stroke paralysed).

        The cycling was a massive help with the stroke recovery. I spent 18 months, post-stroke, cycling with the bike on a static trainer in the garden shed, 3 sessions a week, just getting myself working properly again. I was so unstable when I first started I managed to fall off even that at first.

        Anyway, get well soon Dan.

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