Monday, March 19, 2007

Finding the fun

Some days just remind me that I love taking pictures. It has been a couple of weeks since I picked up my camera, due to work, training, lack of motivation and all the things discussed in my last blog post. But at the weekend I met up with some of my friends from The Radiant Vista that were in town to do their inspirational photography tour. The first night we went out for dinner and everyone but me had a camera with them - shooting things, being silly, having fun. The next night out I took my camera too. I shot a few hundred, blurry, out of focus, silly lensbaby shots. Played around with the star apertures, didn't worry too much about getting things sharp - in fact for the best stars it pays to have everything out of focus. The results may or may not be that great - I haven't even really looked at them yet - but I had such a blast just shooting and composing and seeing the world through a lens again. I always forget how much I can lose myself behind a camera and just let go. I love the sense of calm and focus that I get when I'm working well with a camera. Letting go yet being in control at the same time, trying to balance the creative and the controlling voices in my head - the ones that want everything sharp with the ones that want to swing the camera around and see what happens. When the pictures work it is a huge thrill, but the process of shooting is where the real fun is at for me. The process changes if I'm on my own or if I'm shooting alongside other photographers, or shooting people as the subject. Shooting with people is a great way to make a connection, talking to them if they are in the shots, sharing the fun of goofing off and making interesting pictures if they have cameras. Shooting alone is a much more slow and calming process for me, that relaxes and energises. Shooting with people seems much higher energy when it works - perhaps being more draining but also often leading to more exciting results. I usually feel exhausted if I shoot with other photographers but I find myself riffing on ideas that I don't think I'd have purely on my own. I get a kick out of both styles, the loaner and working with others. There is much to be said for both ways to approach photography and I think if you only find yourself working in one way or the other that you owe it to your picture taking to push off in the other direction some times. Moving out of your comfort zone is a great way to surprise yourself and find new avenues to explore.