“ If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up. – Garry Winogrand
This quote expresses one of my main photographic principles. I don’t want to make images that everyone else makes. Accomplishing this isn’t always easy, but it can be done.
In 2003, when I started in photography, I attended a photo critique oriented toward competition quality images. My image was a beautiful rose – just like one you’d see in a catalog. The gist of the critique was “Nice image, but it’s just a rose. We’ve all seen that 1000’s of times.” I was crushed & when I began to compete a few months later it took a while to understand the message. In retrospect, that simple critique was one of the most valuable I’ve ever gotten.
Fast forward to 2007. I no longer competed. I won everything to be won over 3 years in novice, intermediate, and advanced (blush ;-)). Further, I wanted to shoot for myself and not for rule bound judges (there are hardly any other kind – spoken as a judge who wasn’t) and “….shaking things up” normally means breaking a few rules. In the summer of 2007 I had an exhibit titled “Georgia on My Mind” (Georgia O’Keeffe and her abstract flowers to be specific). As I reviewed my final selection, I remembered “it’s just a rose” and thought “you’ve come a long way,baby”.
The feature image at the top of the post is from that exhibit. The complete set of sixteen images is shown below and can also be viewed individually here. If you need to know what each image is, you may be missing the point.
Click to enlarge.
All but two of these images were made within 50′ of my front door. For #3 I had to travel 150 yards and #1 about 20 miles. Your chances of a great image decrease proportionally to the distance you have to travel to make it. If you can’t make good images within an hour of home, why do you think traveling great distances will help. Oh,
That’s where the photo icon is
– and you think you can make an original image of that icon that’s been shot 1,000,000’s of times — why exactly?
It’s hard to make an original image of a scene that’s been shot day-in and day-out for decades by thousands of photographers. Get real. Buy a postcard.