Musings on Photography

Things I’m pondering

Posted in process, Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on April 16, 2009

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I’ve not been posting much. That doesn’t mean the musing has stopped, just the writing bit.

Things I’m pondering:

  • Sometimes taking a walk with a camera enhances the experience. Sometimes taking a camera along is a detriment. There are things in life which should be experienced, and the act of photography can distance us from things. I know people who carry (or have, in the past, carried) a camera with them everywhere they go, all the time. A lot of those people seem to make photos in a more or less continuous stream. I have, for some short periods, done the same thing. At times I’ve liked this, and at other times I’ve thought it was madness. But I still keep thinking about it. My SoFoBoMo book this year may well be an exercise in quotidian photography. We’ll see.
  • I used to feel regret when I ‘missed’ a photo either because I wasn’t fast enough or didn’t have a camera handy. Nowadays, I’m more of the view that there’s this infinite stream of possible photos flowing past us all the time, and we just sort of dip into the stream now and then. No matter what you do, an infinite number of good photos flow past between your exposures. I’m mindful of the street photographer (can’t remember who, sorry) who, when asked if he felt bad about the photos he missed while reloading, replied “There are no photos while I’m reloading”. No matter what you do, an infinite number of photos are NOT made by you every second. I no longer sweat this.

10 Responses

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  1. Gordon McGregor said, on April 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Things I’m pondering:
    Is quotidian a quotidian word?

  2. Martin Doonan said, on April 16, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Sometimes taking a walk with a camera enhances the experience. Sometimes taking a camera along is a detriment. For me, it eiter enhances the experience or I forget it’s in my hand. No point letting a small thing like a camera get in the way of a good time.

    Nowadays, I’m more of the view that there’s this infinite stream of possible photos flowing past us all the time, and we just sort of dip into the stream now and then. Sometimes I wonder if this is a positive result of age or experience, or the convolution of both.
    I see similar behaviour in engineers, too.

  3. Chris Klug said, on April 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I know that the act of ‘intending to photograph’ seems to crystalize the ‘opportunities’ to capture images. I don’t pretend to know what is going on, but it seems real to me, especially over the last six months as I have begun to hone my skills a bit.

  4. forkboy1965 said, on April 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    All I know is that if I’m looking around to take pictures I’m far more likely to trip and fall down.

    Photography can be a dangerous sport for some of us.

  5. Doug Plummer said, on April 16, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    It’s Garry Winogrand.

  6. Oren Grad said, on April 16, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Yes, it was Winogrand. An expression of equanimity? But he didn’t dip, he took voracious gulps. His backlog still astounds.

    Szarkowski on Winogrand: his “ambition was not to make good pictures, but through photography to know life.”

  7. Ove said, on April 17, 2009 at 1:30 am

    I’m not there yet, rather the opposite, I feel totally naked if I’m not wearing a camera. When I forget to bring it with me, I start to look around for potential images even more than usually. Images which I would have discarded directly when viewed in the viewfinder gets missed images. I think I need to be able to turn that off, have to work on it. 🙂

  8. julie said, on April 17, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Maybe it is some sort of weariness because over time I’ve become less bothered when I’m somewhere without a camera and spot a missed opportunity. If you felt like that the whole time, it’d get a bit tedious.

    What I’ve been working on more is when I’m out for the purpose of photography and I don’t see pictures. I’m working on not beating myself up about it, and enjoying a walk for what it is instead.

  9. Deacon Tyler said, on April 18, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Paul,
    I’m hoping that I never forget what you wrote in your post. As a wedding photographer, I constantly feel like I’m ‘missing’ these great shots, no matter how fast or efficiently I work.

    Between your post and your quote from the street photographer, I see an entirely different viewpoint that I believe nearly every photographer will benefit from!

  10. Bryan Willman said, on April 21, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I used to worry about “missed shots” a lot. I sometimes still think “oh, I wish I’d gotten that”.

    But I used to worry about missed TV shows, missed issues of magazines, missed this and missed that.

    And I realized that most of that doesn’t matter. A missed shot is really only missed if you needed it for some project and purpose. (Which surely looms larger for a wedding photographer than for me.)


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