Why do you take photographs?

Why do you take photographs? This is a question of often ask students and occasionally ask myself. It seems a bit of an odd question when first asked but I find that the answer is different for many people and there can be multiple reasons.  Why you take photographs or what you want to photograph effects the techniques you need to learn and the equipment you might need to buy.

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The Nude in Photography

What is real and what is fake? Are models just seen as shop dummies? Black and white nude from film original

The nude female form elicits a number of, sometimes conflicting, potential responses from the viewer of an artwork. It can be seen as the depiction of a human being as a sex object, an anonymous manifestation of beauty or the nudity can be used to foreground aspects or themes within the picture. The most common criticism levelled at photography is that it simply imitates another art form.

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Aircraft Photography

A small collection of my aircraft photography. To see the full catalogue indexed by type 

Is My Camera Any Good?

What lens have you got on that?

I hate talking about gear when I am using it. As a long suffering wedding photographer I used to dread the approach of the serious looking old gentleman with a scuffed brown leather cased, 50’s vintage, camera round his neck. Usually he had just been fiddling with for at least ten minutes to take one photograph of his rather overweight, and definitely bored, wife in her best hat. I knew the inevitable question was coming.
‘What sort of lens have you got on that?’

‘That’ was usually a 6×4.5 Bronica film camera. We used to use medium format cameras because no one believed you were a pro with a 35mm SLR
My reply was often a completely genuine, ‘I don’t know.’
I could see him debating as to whether to rush off and exclaim to the bride that she had booked a complete idiot to take her wedding pictures, or whether to tell me not to be such a sarcastic bugger.

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Leaving Space For Text (copy space)

Many years ago, when the only things that were digital were your fingers or your watch, I won a photographic magazine’s cover girl competition. Not me personally you understand – one of my photographs.

A couple of weeks later an excited young photographer and his girlfriend, who just happened to be the scantily clad subject of the winning photograph, arrived at a posh Park Lane hotel for the prize giving. I don’t remember much about the event apart from one rather disparaging comment from the editor. ‘Your picture won because you were the only one who left space for the title.’ This was probably not the most tactful thing to say to an aspiring young photographer about his first competition win.

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The Concept – Taking Better Photographs

Taking better photographs depends on a lot of factors. I recently took part in a critique where a photographer put up a technically perfect but aesthetically boring picture of a nude. He commented that he had no concept or message when taking the picture but would like to do more ‘artistic’ work. I suggested that if he worked on having the former then the latter might naturally flow. Continue reading

Beside the Seaside

British Seaside Photographs

The Brits love the seaside. Sitting on the beach in shorts in the coldest weather. Walking along the prom; eating fish and chips and shellfish. Dogs yap as they stroll across the beach and even nuns join in the fun.

Street Photography

 

Street photography isn’t always about accosting strangers or sticking a camera in an unsuspecting subjects face. The most useful talent a photographer can possess is the ability to observe and predict the subjects actions. To wait for Cartier-Bresson’s  decisive moment.

The most important piece of kit a street photographer needs is – a camera. Always carry one.

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