A lot of people who are “into” photography seem to think of the “doing” of photography as the end unto itself. While the mechanical act of making photographs can be pleasurable, I think of photography as a medium for self-examination, not a pursuit unto itself.
The American abstract expressionist painter Richard Diebenkorn (1922 –1993) is noted not only for his great work, but also for his thoughts about the creative process. Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting” is a list of 10 things to think about as we begin any creative work – we can think of them as “10 Rules for Getting Started.”
There’s an old adage in photography: “inside every 8×10” print, there is a really excellent 5×7” image waiting to be found.” That old saw is the foundation for an exercise that I’ve used for myself and in my classes over the years; take an image that you’ve made and search for alternate cropping choices that might strengthen the composition. Regardless of whether you find a “better” photograph, you learn a fair amount about how to see.
A listener asked where the logo for Camera Position came from, which gave me an impetus to talk about that photograph and the concept of the Lone Tree image – a compulsory photograph for nearly every photographer.
When we position the camera, we are ultimately positioning the viewer of our photographs. We explore this idea using a 1757 painting by the Venetian Painter Canaletto, who often used a camera obscura to create his paintings.
Thanks to Dirk Rösler and the folks at the Large Format Photography Forum for setting these wheels in motion. Check out some of the conversations we’re having on Facebook and Flickr about photography and ideas.