|Each race teaches us something new.|
I don't photograph landscapes because they rarely inform my running internal dialog about what makes people tick.
I photograph people to share a point of
view about our shared existence. I find the human condition, and growing old within the context of a constant cultural evolution fascinating.
If you are in photography because it seems like a "neat" hobby where you get to play with "cool" toys and show off technical mastery of one sort or another then you may have chosen the wrong hobby. Or maybe you've just chosen to read the wrong blog about photography because I will gently and not so gently chide you to focus on only photographing in the service of
To compete with the people in these photographs you also have to be committed to doing hard daily work.
Just as photographers only get better when they find more profound intersections between risk and immersion. Immersion and technique. What made Avedon one of my favorite image makers was his relentless drive not just to photograph
but to push the boundaries of known
When I look at these photos of the 2008 Masters National Meet, held at
These are the people who've never
I recently watched several people in my swim team pound out five thousand yards of hard swimming on a typical saturday morning. They were swimming at an aerobic level that might do in people who are out of shape and half or a quarter of their ages. I watched sixty year olds swim practice times that would have qualified them for Olympic trials in games a few decades ago.
And they pounded out (I should say, "powerfully glided through...") 140 to 180 laps of the pool before hopping out and heading on to start the same full days as everyone else.
And, in the end what is the benefit? Well, statistically, if they are still swimming in their sixties they will live at least eleven years longer than the general population. While they are living they will be more mobile and more fit. Better able to deal with physical and mental challenges and they will have manufactured enough of their own self-discipline to master just
Again, what does this have to do with photography? Plenty. Pushing through to a daily practice means making technique second nature and seeing with more focus and discernment.
Commitment to a showing the rest of us the beauty of your vision allows you to distill your vision down until it gains maximum power. And like most
I shot commercially yesterday and I have another job booked for tomorrow. Today I've been doing pre-production on a two day food shoot for next week, but all through this schedule the one thing I want to do is walk with my camera, meet people and shoot for my own pleasure. It's not the same doing jobs. It doesn't matter how much you like the project or
How do swimmers do it? They decide they want to swim strong and fast and they make time for swimming. If they can't swim at the crack of dawn they find an evening program. The really committed ones jot down a workout on an index card and head to the local lake, pool, river and go. I swim at 7am. But I cheat because I have to drop off my kid at
cross country practice at 6:45am and
Photography is even easier once you've settled on what it is you love to look at. What it is you feel compelled to share. You don't need to get wet. You can bundle up against the cold. You probably won't get and ear infection....
But it seems harder to get started.
Photography is like that. So is writing.
Enough. What makes photography fun? Learning what you love to show and learning how to craft an image that really shares that love and reaches out and makes a connection with a viewer.
Funny thing about swimmers. They can't really be gear heads. It's basically just a set of goggles ($20 max) and a
swim suit (men $25, women $50) and
One camera. One or two lenses and you're done. The important thing is how you use them and how often you use them.
I'm going to suggest: Daily.
Intention? That has to come from you. But I would suggest that, as a functional person, you no doubt find things in life that spark you up. Give you pleasure, satisfaction, happiness. That inflate your will to live. Distill down to those things and make them the base of your art. Then the intention will drive everything else.
I intend to be swimming well into my 90's. I intend to have a camera along with me for the ride.....
Daily practice. After work. Before work. All you need is your intention and the simplest of cameras.