When you have been a photographer as long as I have, sometimes you need to nurture your working relationship with photography. It’s a bit like any relationship really. First it’s all new and exciting, then comes familiarity. And if you don’t work on the relationship you can fall out of love with it. I have not only a personal relationship with photography but a working relationship as well. I am very grateful for being able to do what I love for a living but it is important that the relationship is looked after so that my photography is at its best all the time. Not just for my personal satisfaction, but for the people who I photography for.
The technical side of photography for me now is just habit. I instinctively see light, and look for the best light I can find. I know the settings that I must use to get the desired outcome that I want. But when this becomes habit, you don’t really have to think to hard about this stuff. You tend to go on to auto brain mode and I know I can shoot almost anything anytime, no matter how I am feeling, or what the circumstances might be. And for a working photographer that is exactly where you should be. But for a creative, it can become a little boring. The day to day chore of shooting for others can become monotonise if you don’t look after the relationship. I have always had my own little rule that every shoot I do is 80% for the client and 20% for me. it’s a great way to really keep your interest in every shoot shot.
I attended a Canon Collective event in Brisbane September 2017. There was the choice of portraits, composite (photoshop) or Street photography. I am pretty good with portraits and photoshop composites, and have always loved street photography but never really spent much time thinking about it. I figured it was my weakest area so would attend that one. And I am so pleased that I did.
Steve Scalone was the instructor, someone that I already knew and respected in the industry. I really like his work so was looking forward to getting away and learning some new things.
But I didn’t expect to learn what I did. Which is often what happens, you go to an event expecting one thing but taking away something completely different.
What I learned was that I had lost my mojo, not because of my skill and ability, but because my confidence had been knocked. You see I have had a few years of all sorts of things happen that have rattled me a little. And those dark thoughts of doubt began to take over. I started comparing myself to all the cool kids on social media and started to doubt my ability.
Silly me. I should listen to my own advice to other!! I am always going on about there being no competition except with yourself. and it took this trip to remind me of that.
What I learned was that I had been on the right track all along. And that street photography is what you decide it is for your own practice. It can be architectural, or all about the decisive moment, or about what is happening on the street as in storytelling.
Steve had a great approach to finding the location or “setting the scene” and then waiting to see what wanders into your frame. I love this approach and learned this as a new tool that I can use when I am out and about.
I took some awesome images in Brisbane, but what I was really excited about was going back over my old street photography images that I have been shooting over the last 10 years. I plan to go and revisit some of my old work and seeing what little gems I overlooked at the time when I was doubting myself.
There is no right and wrong in photography, it’s all about what you want to include in the frame. And you are the only person that needs to be happy with it. So thanks Canon Collective and Steve Scalone for helping me get my relationship with photography back on track and finding my mojo. I am all fired up and looking forward to photographing everything!!!