I love photography.
I think most everyone knows that by now, right?
If I had my way, I’d be out shooting photos all day, every day.
Now, we all have a smart phone in our pocket these days. All smart phones have a camera. A pretty good camera. There are millions of people taking millions of photos every single day.
The vast majority of them are nothing more than snapshots. They aren’t interesting to anybody except the one who took them, and perhaps a few close friends or family. Good for a memory, but that’s about it.
But what goes into a good photo? Aside from the subject matter, that is.
What sets a really good photo apart?
What makes it art?
What makes it more than a snapshot?
Allow me to share one of my photos.
This is a photo I call, “A Bird’s Life.”
I remember clearly the experience of capturing this photo (as I do almost all of my photos).
I pulled into the parking lot, on Cline Spit, here in Sequim, WA., just as the sun was beginning to set on that particular day
In addition to what was a brilliant sunset, in it’s own right, there just happened to be a lone seagull standing there on a rock, who appeared to be taking it all in.
In a moment of inspiration, I lined him up in the scene, and this image is the end result.
It’s one of my personal faves.
What quality does this photo, and hopefully most of my photos, contain that a simple snapshot does not?
I think it comes down to what’s going on in the heart and mind of the one taking the photo.
These three things for instance –
1 – Passion
I love this. I mean I really, really, love it!!!
I love the craft.
I love the search.
I love the subject.
I love the discovery.
My favorite time every day is when I am out taking photos – I live for it.
I have an absolute passion for it, and there simply is no substitute for passion.
2 – CANI (Constant and never-ending improvement)
I want to be good at this. Really, really, good at this.
And I am willing to do the work to become really, really, good at it.
So, I continue to learn.
I continue to practice.
I continue to work to improve.
Day after day after day after day.
The exciting part it this – my best photo is yet to be captured. It’s still out there in the future, somewhere, waiting for me to arrive,…
If I continue to work, then arrive I will.
3 – Gratitude
How fortunate am I to have been given this gift of photography?!
I am grateful for all of the things I have witnessed through photography
I’m grateful for whatever talent I have been blessed with.
I’m grateful for the spirit that it has awakened within me.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my photos with others.
You see, I fell into photography almost by accident, but it has gradually become an absolute obsession, and I will never-ever take it for granted.
My gratitude is immense.
This is not an exhaustive list, by any measure, but, in the end, I believe that when these three qualities are present in the heart and mind of the photographer, that transfers over into the work.
It gives it soul.
It gives it life.
It makes it art.
It adds that invisible and mysterious quality that makes a photo more than just a snapshot
And I hope that quality is evident in every photo that I capture.
As a postscript – this is the workup for a speech I am giving for my Toastmasters group tomorrow night. Wish me luck.