Do you think about your composition before you press the shutter? Or do you study your photographs when you are reviewing them? People talk about compositional rules and guide lines and that these help them make better compositions. Others say that there are no rules at all, they just lead to uninteresting non-suprising compositions. Henri Cartier-Bresson hoped that photo shops wouldn’t sell “little schema grills” to clamp onto our viewfinders, but today many camera manufacturers do.
When you read forums people all know it so well. Some of them can give extended descriptions with a sauce of artistic and intellectual flavor. Others praise photographs with short phrases: “Beautiful, wonderful!” And of course others will say that they dislike those short phrases, because they want real critics. Some will tell you that the photograph works, because it was taken with a rangefinder, others will pick on you for using the wrong camera. Some see the presence of the foveon sensor, others think film is still the best.
Some re-crop to make a composition work for them, others will never crop. Some, fulfilled with a healthy doses of arrogance, say there is a lot of meaningless stuff posted on the web, but do find it hard to cope with criticism. Some will say that landscape is silly and others will say that street photography is the real deal. A few professionals might say that all amateurs suck, because they are not …….. professional. And some amateurs think they are a professional.
I believe there are so many ways to do it. What works for you, might not work for someone else. And that is fine in my opinion. When I take a photograph I aim, frame, and press the shutter. For me it is a feeling. It feels right or it feels wrong. I don’t think about it. And OK, I do quite a lot of landscape photography. But for me no tripods, large cameras, and lock-up mirrors. I don’t capture a scene because of its beauty, I believe I try to document a state of the scene. I don’t get inspired by other landscape photographers, but find inspiration in the work of documentary and even wedding photographers.
Look, most of us are no professional photographers, nor am I. And that is fine I think, I hope you do? We don’t have to commit ourselves, we have no costumers who expect the best all the time. We have more freedom and time to try new things. No marketing to worry about, no mouths to feed with photography. It is a pure hobby for the sake of it. I like to improve myself, because I want it. Not because others expect me too.
I love to talk about photography, preferably about photographs and not about cameras, express my preferences and my dislikings. I am not so good at referencing to other photographers, or discussing arts in an intellectual fashion. I try to be polite and friendly. I hate 100% viewing and pixel peeping, but love getting prints. I personally rather prefer to go out, take my camera with me, and take photographs. That is what feels right to me, I hope for you too.
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma