Tag Archive: psyche


Decisions

In camera decisions and production decisions.  Both contribute to creating a good image.  The in camera decisions frequently have to be ‘snap’ decisions (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).  Quick assessment of light, composition, balance, highlights, focus etc.  The best photographers seem to do these automatically.  No thought really required.  This apparent ease comes from years of work, years of making mistakes, years of learning what works.  No shortcut through that path. For a beginner, I can only sigh as I examine wonderful images. Looking at the whole and then the components.  One day, one day…

When I take my photos back to the computer, that is when I, as a beginner, can more clearly see what I did or didn’t do well.  This reflective time is where I can learn more about my actions and decisions.  And, for the moment, it is where I can make some changes to improve on my mistakes in the field.

I shoot in RAW to give myself the best chance to improve the results.  The more information I have (or my computer has) the more chance I have of rescuing an image, of changing a decision.  I can change white balance, improve colours, remove extraneous bits and pieces.  I can do many things to make my image somewhat better.  There are also many mistakes I can do nothing about.  Those are destined for the trash bin, after I have learned what I can from them. My mistakes are as important as my good images.  Knowing what I have done right is important, working out what I messed up is equally important.  One mistake less next time.

Then, after fixing what I can fix, there is presentation.  How to present the image and the vision I had when I created it and refined it through my work and decisions, so that others can share this vision, or create their own visions from it?  How to see with the eyes of others?  How will my vision be seen by a stranger, with a different worldview?  Here I need to step away from myself, and see the image as unrelated to me.  Is that possible?

Not really, but I think I can gain a little distance from myself, through time away from the image or through refocusing myself on other things then moving back.  Books, photographs, other art work – seeing other visions through my eyes, then returning with my mind filled with those visions to re-evaluate mine.  These help me look at my work, the decisions I make now more dispassionately, more critically.  Moving away from the self is important to be able to see the self more clearly.

Then the most fearful part of all – putting this part of the self out for others to see.  How will it be received?  How will others judge me?  Will they see my vision, will I spark some recognition?  Will it be ignored?  Not worth looking at?  How do I see myself if others criticise or ignore?  Fear of exposure, of criticism, of being ignored, seen as valueless….  So much wrapped up in a few thousand dots on a page.

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A shot into the psyche

The limitations of photography are in yourself, for what we see is only what we are.Ernst Haas

For the seeker of the soul, photography and all other arts become the window to the inner world.  We look at the world with our eyes, seeing the things that resonate within us.  We take photographs of what catches our psyche, and therefore catches our eyes. To explore this is to find out so much more about ourselves.

I take photographs of things that fascinate me, and in doing so, I expose my view of the world, and my inner being to others.  When I spend so much time on finding the beauty in the imperfect, the transient, the dying – does this echo my preoccupation with my own imperfections, my quest to create beauty and goodness within my transient self?

When I walk through the streets taking photographs of faces, am I looking for myself within those crowds; searching for someone that I can see myself in?  The photos of foibles – lovely shots of touches of humanity in an increasingly homogeneous world, are they signs of my search for my individuality?

Each shot I take means something to me, and places me ‘out there’ to be interpreted as others wish.  I have no control over those interpretations, and occasionally when someone interprets one of my photographs in a way that I didn’t see, didn’t intend, I cringe, wanting to shout “But that’s not what I meant!”.  Yet, that person is interpreting my work through their eyes, their experiences, and from that I can see another way of looking at the world, and I can see a little way into that person.

What does the photo above mean to me?  I see many things.  New growth – always something I am looking for.  For me, to see the end of growth is to experience death.  Light – light is so glorious.  I can stand transfixed by light and how it touches the world.  Light creates glow and warmth and joy.  These are things I want to echo in my life.  Contrast – bright and dark, new and old, the shadow and the light.  The yin-yang of the world.  I am seeking balance in my life, and examining contrasts clearly shows that I need opposites to create balance.  Quiet times need to be balanced with energy; sleep with wakefulness; work with rest … the list is endless.  And yet we often strive for an unbalanced life – calling for happiness without sorrow, growth without pain or change without loss.

The more I look at my photographs, the more I ask WHY that shot needed to be taken, the more i can see into what motivates me.  It is a fascinating journey.