Answers from photographers

Thanks to everyone for their considered comments on my last post.

I got together with my friend the other day and even though she knew I’d be bringing mine, she didn’t bring her camera.  This tells me pretty much all I need to know about her stage with it right now – snapshots only, nothing serious.  No inclination to do more.  All fine with me.  She knows I’m a resource should things change.  As an abstract painter, she approaches things differently than I do as either a jewelry artist or a photographer and so your comments gave me some alternate perspectives.

Glenn, you’re right about the makers v. takers and if being a taker suits her purposes then that’s all that matters.

Jason, I took a class in HS as well, but didn’t do much formally beyond that time.  It’s been a process of learning by doing and a little bit of reading.

Steve, your background certainly has helped you establish a style when it comes to your post processing work.  It’s funny because my friend started asking me all kinds of questions about Photoshop and equivalents from Corel and other mfgs.  It was kind of staggering to me because in my process it’s a cart before the horse kind of question; she doesn’t even know what she needs out of a photo editor so how am I supposed to tell her?  🙂

Theresa, I hear you about camera manuals.  As bad as stereo instructions to be sure, but they are good for at least providing an overview of controls etc, so you won’t fumble so much to use them at first.  And keeping it with you can only ease your frustration when something isn’t intuitive – like her need to shut off the flash.  Learning by doing, sister, I’m there; you’d have a real laugh at my mountains of bad slides and prints.

kat, the themes and assignments idea is a good one should she ever really want tutoring.  I’ll remember that one.  You’re right that it can refresh your artistic side and forgotten skills.

Richard, critique is tough with her and anything.  With her, she thinks that her process is so well thought out that her end products must be great no matter what.  Not that she doesn’t take instruction or correction, we worked together long enough that I know she can, but sometimes she thinks her great process will always equal a great result.

Matt, you’re right about the ease of experimenting and practicing with digital and I suspect that’s how she’ll get on.

Jackie, you really went the extra mile and it shows in your work.  Formal classes, seminars and workshops are something I’ve not taken advantage of at all, but would like to someday.  Not only would they seem to instill good habits and techniques, but also help a person find her style.

Jason N, books are a good idea and I probably should update my library.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Petersen book as you say.  Being grounded in the knowledge of the whys and wherefores of what makes a photograph work from a technical perspective can’t be replaced.

Thanks so much for all your insights.  Keep them coming if you haven’t commented.

When my friend didn’t immediately fall in love with photography and pester me with questions, it made me feel as if I were alone and somewhat strange for taking as much time with it as I do.  Ditto for our mutual friend who is a photographer, but was too lazy to go out with me in the cold.  The light was great and she just didn’t care.  So why should I, I asked myself.  I was disheartened for a while.  I love seeing the spark of joy of photography in others and when they don’t share my passion it makes me sad.  Everyone should love what I love, shouldn’t they???

The cure was going for a long drive to a photography meet-up.  The location was weird (an abandoned quarry) and there were only three of us plus my husband who was only along to see a decrepit, old place.  After spending the afternoon with passionate and creative photographers, I felt better.  I felt at home.  We were excited to explore the grounds and happy with its off-beat appeal.  I was glad to be back among my people.

3 thoughts on “Answers from photographers

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  1. There are technical issues: f-stops and exposure times, metering methods, specifics of camera operation. There are also artistic issues: when you want shallow DOF, when you want long DOF, compositional stuff, etc. These are fairly separate. In my case, I like things to look good but I don’t consider myself much of an artist. My motivations for shooting things vary, but if they look good so much the better. One reason I follow people like you is your stuff does look good. I taught my kid the technical part of using his camera. The art part he got on his own, and he now far-and-away exceeds anything I could have taught him. I wish I could point you to some of it, but he insists on keeping his audience limited. Maybe the point is you have to stay out of the way sometimes.

    1. thanks Ed. I suspect the technical side, that is, the understanding of it, will not be something she delves into. The results from a basic understanding of manipulation will be all she needs most likely, but that’s the way she is with everything and gets the results she wants most times.

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