Friday, 14 December 2007

What do I want to achieve?

"This way, that way", France, June 2007

Now I have a clearer picture of what I'm doing and why, it's time to turn my attention to the destination.

Any journey has a start and an intended destination, so I need to articulate my intention. I'm not going to get myself into goal setting. I have enough of that in my daily work; I don't like to get too much into such things in my spare time. Instead, I'm going to think of this more as a direction in which I'd like to go and decide later whether that takes me places I want to go. If so, I'll keep going, otherwise I'll try another tack.

There are may things one might wish to achieve with art and photography but I figure if I'm going to get the most out of what I do, the direction I take has to relate to the fundamental reasons I pick up my camera in the first place.

In my post on why, I had 5 main reasons for doing photography:

1. Enjoyment
2. Personal documentary
3. Artistic expression
4. Capturing people's behaviour
5. Showing my love of nature

The first is self-evident, and ultimately bounds any direction I take: if I'm not enjoying it, I stop and find something I do enjoy. I don't want to turn photography into a chore and for this reason I don't think I could ever become a professional - there are too many non-photography things one needs to do to keep that up.

The second is simple - it's about having a camera wherever I go. I'm still looking at the perfect device for that. I quite liked Paul Butzi's approach to his trip to China. I'm certainly looking into having a decent small camera as I don't always want to lug my 20D around. This sort of travel photography is very much in the "friends and family" category - I'm not trying to create great art.

As to the artistic expression, a lot of this is personal. This is me doing the "art as verb" bit for my own satisfaction. I like to try new things, explore various ways of taking & processing photographs. Many of the results aren't worth much but it is a part of the learning process. It is this effort that enables me to create better work for showing to others and develop a more consistent vision and style. By knowing what I don't like & what doesn't work I can better develop that which does. This is an area that I need to develop, to look at other ways of doing things, ways of looking at things and developing images. One of the first things I shall be doing is attending a photographic workshop early next year - my first. If this proves successful, I may do more of them to help in my photographic development. I am tending to think that there are lots of little things I'm missing to getting really good results but then I may be completely over-estimating my abilities.

This leads nicely to the last point (I'll come back to the people) about showing my love of nature. this really has two sides - getting my work "out there" and having people appreciate it. I'm not really sure at the moment the best way to show my work. I've got the gallery but I'm thinking there are better places to show stuff. I would like to think that in the longer term I can produce work good enough for a proper show or publication - long way to go before that happens.
The second part is about having people appreciate the work. This isn't about me getting praise (although that's nice) but viewers getting something positive from seeing my work. I've got past the point of pleasing family and friends, I would like a wider audience (especially other photographers) to be getting something from it all. If I can properly develop some themes & style then I think these things will come. this blog is a start - there is a small but growing number of regular visitors and that helps give me impetus.

Finally is the people piece. I think I'm developing a sense of what makes good results in this arena. I need to be a bit bolder, I think, in getting closer and carrying my camera to more social occasions if only to practice. Looking over the wider range of shots I've taken, I see some themes developing which might come together in series. This stuff is really about having some fun. it also teaches me to react a little quick and spot scene intuitively which I think is helpful even when working slowly and contemplatively.

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