Just finishing up an amazing week at Photoshop World. It’s a place that if you’re a person like me, you garner from the participants an overwhelming sense of what you’re doing as a photographer is alright. That what you’re saying with a camera is reaching out an tugging at heartstrings invoking in others either simple awe or more importantly, the desire to them to go out and do the same thing, that’s really the whole point of Photoshop World. To empower others to go out, be creative, share the world they explore visually and in that process, change the world. That’s why I think we should be photographers!
No one starts out in this position though. And here lies the problem and why I think so many want their images “reviewed” or “critiqued.” It a huge part of validation some say, knowing they are on the right track is what others says. On the crits forms we were provided at Portfolio Review and Photoshop World there was a category left blank for the photographer to fill in. I was really intrigued when all but one of my critters filed it in as…aspiring. Where is it we’re trying to get with photography or more importantly, where is it we want our photography to take us?
Here, there is a lot of talk of f/stops and shutter speeds, light, composition (a well warn and misunderstood word if there ever was one) and gear….lots of gear! I decided this time at Photoshop World, I would change up some of the words, phrases and concepts I have used in the past when asked to review images. I’ve seen thousands of images this week and the vast majority were really good images. Some were simply amazing! And in the process of giving comments, I adopted one key word for every image I saw, no matter or weak or strong. That word is heart!
At first, each photographer gave me this quisical look when I said heart, their photograph needed more heart. And for each photographer, each image the heart I was referring to was never the same. One image might have need for feeling for the light. Another image might have needed more love for the subject. Another might have needed the heart to hit the delete key. My goal was pretty simple, to get the photographer to put enough emotion, heart into their photograph that the viewer can’t help but feel it. And that get’s to the heart I think of where most what from their photography.
Creatives, visual folks are always wearing their heart on their sleeve which is why some are so easily crushed when their photograph doesn’t work. But what is it we are really striving for, what am I striving for when I put an image out? Why do photographers when they post an image Facebook or G+ look at the comments all day, foregoing other work they should be doing? We’re all looking for acceptance! We are looking to see is our vision of our world excites others.
Once we have that acceptance, photography just seems to get better. Light not so hard, f/stop not as scary and sharing our images, not so terrifying. And that’s where I want you to be right now, without going through all of that other stuff. You can do that simply, like your photos! There is no right or wrong or better and worse. Understand that means that what, you’re photography will always get better. That means you’re always learning and that’s the process of every photographer, past, present and future. The photography you are producing right now is great and it will be better. With that understanding, you can now move forward because what we are all seeking, acceptance!