There are a lot of reasons we run around with cameras taking pictures. For most it’s fun, it’s a hobby, we love to create images. For a very few others, it’s their art. It’s good to understand the two. The main difference between is that an artist has something they want to say or communicate and photography is their medium. Hobbyists take pictures for the pictures sake and many hobbyists produce pictures that can absolutely be termed very ‘artsy’.
Why does this matter? Because most of us really do have something to say, or at least convey or pass on – even if it’s just that we want others to see the beauty of the world. Maybe we feel there’s more to life than television, shopping, and adolescent pop stars. Maybe we believe in a cause, maybe we’re intrigued by life’s paradoxes and contradictions.
What can we learn from the artist? When an artist seeks to express themselves, they seek to create the images that portray what they want to say. The better they understand and know their medium, the better they may be able to offer their unique expression. So, artists tend to experiment. They are not people who are bound by rules or learnings that places limitations or guidelines on their expression. However, being human, we are a composite of our experiences and education, and so often the learning has more to do with ‘rules’ than it has to do with providing tools that may increase one’s ability to be intuitively expressive.
Where did the rules come from? The rules in photography did not come from creation of art, but through the analysis of finished art moving backwards to its creation. This done by intellectuals and critics to understand why we like what we like, and to discover the intellectual and mathematical sides of harmony and composition.
Most people like rules as they provide structure to one’s life, and this structure provides security. But from an artistic standpoint rules stifle creativity. They set up roadblocks and diversions from allowing us to freely discover and express our creative vision. It is like deciding upon a religion, accepting the rules as divine, and closing the mind, in this case the artistic mind. Accepting rules may be good for the structure of society, but not for free expression and art.
So if you desire to learn more about photography, maybe also think about if you have something to say that can be expressed through the photographic medium. For both the hobbyist and the artist, having a basic understanding of composition and harmony, the way the brain sees objects, and what those objects are, is definitely beneficial. These can be learned by reading basic art books or by taking a beginner art class such as Basic Composition or The Elements & Principles of Design.
The next step is to learn one’s medium, in this case cameras and the digital darkroom (aka, Photoshop). The basics of photography and the camera is exceeding simple and involves only three controls: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Sensor Speed (ISO). Learn the relationships of these three and the effects and characteristics that that they produce and you have mastered the camera.
After the camera comes the refinement of your image. In the digital darkroom, you will make the adjustments you feel you need to produce the image that expresses what you want to say. As we age, what we have to say changes. And so our images reflect our evolving thoughts and photography becomes a lifelong pursuit of our own expression.
Vero Beach Photography
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