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My Shadow and Me

M9-35mm Summilux

I’m hoping I’m not alone when I say, street photography is very hard. Actually, any photography is very hard. Especially if you want to tell a story with a pleasing composition and good lighting. Let alone ask for outstanding excellence. Or worse, come up with a unique and amazing work of art. And double worse, make it so I “own” it. Okay, triple worse, be consistent at it. Quadruple worse, images that define who I am and what I want to say or tell over a series. The masters have done it. Contemporaries have done it. The people whom I have interviewed have done it. But clearly at this point, it is way beyond my current abilities.

I have shot a little over a thousand photographs since my last post of my own work back in June: My 1st One Hit Wonder. Yet, I have just this image and maybe one other one to show.

Frustration is the best word to describe where I’m at right now. How can I sit for hours or walk for hours in a town(s) and not find anything to shoot or shoot absolutely nothing worth looking at? The question that came to mind is: Do I know what I’m looking for in an image? Or worse, what am I looking for in an image?

I expressed my sentiment to a street photography buddy friend of mine, Mario, whose work and opinion I respect tremendously. He wrote back to me saying that he totally understood what I was going through because it’s exactly what he goes through. And the reality is, sometimes, there’s just nothing worth shooting at all. Life isn’t special every second. I laughed on my back when I read it.

Mario also told me some great advice. Just keep my head open and clear- receptive for anything that might come. I shouldn’t over analyze the image. Just shoot it and look it over later with an unbiased mind. Sometimes I might be surprised.

When you think about it, Mario is right. When I look back at all the interviews I’ve done, almost every photographer has similar advice: Don’t think- Just shoot. This state of mind gives me hope. I am going to adopt it and not fret over the greatness of every shot. Armed with gusto- I’m going to shoot the dickens out of everything.

Thanks Mario. Thanks everyone. Thanks for the simple but poignant advice. Now off I go with my camera. Hope you’ll be shooting too.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. mrfrankr #

    both your hits are pretty good. keep at it.

    September 29, 2012
  2. A great little post, and a subject that we have all suffered with!!… If it was easy, everybody would be doing it! 🙂

    October 2, 2012
    • LOL- you’re right Bob! Thanks for stopping by.

      October 10, 2012
  3. Pam DeCamp Photography #

    Keep your eyes open as well as your mind. I shoot everyday, whether it be my pets, flowers or just something random that catches my eye. Just don’t think so hard about it…you’ll surprise yourself!

    October 2, 2012
    • Thanks for the advice Pam! Thanks for stopping by.

      October 10, 2012
  4. Cindy McMillion #

    Thank you for this! This sentence particularly resonated with me: “How can I sit for hours or walk for hours in a town(s) and not find anything to shoot or shoot absolutely nothing worth looking at?” I’m so glad I’m not the only person who feels like that; I was beginning to lose confidence.

    October 15, 2012
  5. Super strong. The silhouette looks almost like it could be his shadow or anti-self. The pillars on either side act as solid frames, while their shadows really lead the eye in.

    February 7, 2013

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