The only reason I got out at all today (since I’m deep into learning Linux security) was because I did another one-on-one photo lesson – although this was more of what I’d call a let me follow Dave around and see how he works session. Those are the best because I get to shoot, pretty much as I normally do, plus get to chat about what I think I’m doing. This is now my fifth one-on-one lesson and they have all been very good experiences for both me and whoever plunked down the money to spend time with me shooting.
So there were a few interesting shots on my part, and I haven’t gone through them all, but this was one I thought was mysterious enough – at least an example of creative framing.
Man Park Bench
If you want to know what is sticking out from under his jacket… more mystery. Close up, you can see what looks like flat, woven straps from some a martial arts uniform. (This shot I saw, but wasn’t going to take – but M. saw it and so I thought it’d be good if we both took a crack at it.)
What I enjoyed about the lesson was that M. was not looking to be magically turned into an artist. He has enough photographic experience to know what you can and can’t get from one of these sessions. That made the experience easy for me. He understood that it is an instinctive activity – that you can analyze later – but that while you are on the prowl – it isn’t easily analyzed.
Sax Player (Poet’s Walk Guy)
Another thing that became crystal clear during the lesson was that the art of photography could be broken up into very distinct parts:
1) The ability to see
2) The ability to capture what you see
3) And the ability to show what you see
The ability to see – this is the most mystical, magical, and unteachable part. Of course, everyone can see, so the phrase is more complex than the words that make it up. What you really want is the ability to see in such a way as that your imagination may play a role, or that you can recognize things that are worth seeing, or worth showing. Can you see beyond the cliche? This is why I’ve often said that when you photograph another person you aren’t stealing their soul – you are revealing your own.
Can you capture what you see or what your imagination sees? That can be improved with constant practice. I can assure you that the more I shot, the more I was able to walk away from a scene feeling that I had captured what I wanted to get.
And three – showing what you see. Printing, cropping, putting your image into a screen or onto a piece of paper. Again, this is just a craft. I can be taught. And it will improve with study.
But without that first bit – the ability to see in a new way, or an original way, the second two steps aren’t going to help much. And that is what was crystal clear for me during the lesson.