Photography is a Language

Photography is like learning a new language. In the beginning you are constantly aware of grammar, sentence structure, verb conjugations and vocabulary.

The mechanics of language is very similar to that of the camera. It takes awhile to learn the diffferent parts of language that allow you to communicate smoothly and effectively. The same is true to become fluent in photography.

Diamond Exchange, New York City, November 2017

A camera is merely a tool. When people ask me what cameras I use my response for a number of years now has been, do you ask a carpenter what hammer she uses? I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a quote from Man Ray in which his response to the same question was “you don’t ask a writer what typewriter he uses.”

Your ability to get your camera to do what you want it to do is the first step. But even when you become fluent there’s still so much more that can be learned and explored. Like expanding your vocabulary.

If I am not able to believe that my best photos are to come I’ll put my cameras down. And it’s not just about the technical aspects about photography by any means. It is about the constant evolution of style, subject and technique. There IS always something new to learn and do! It is a lifelong pursuit.

Photography is – Part Eleven

The action doesn’t stop, but a photo desires to freeze time in a way that it can be remembered. If we didn’t pause to look and shoot, life would still move on. A photograph exists as a memory of a time that no longer exists. My photos are a record that I was here. It is what I do with my time.

LES Street
LES Morning, New York City, December 2019

Photography is – Part Ten

Photography is a facsimile. It is a miniature view of a much larger picture. Even a 360 degree photos misses more than it captures. It represents the fleeting moments in life.

The Great Believers, New York City, December 2019

Photography is – Part Nine

Truth resides in photography only as much as the person who took it believed it was worth shooting it. Truth in photography exists when the viewer can relate to the image that is represented in a photo.

Love + Be Loved, New York City, May 2019

Photography is – Part Eight

I am my photographs and my photographs are me. You can’t really separate the two. So obviously there’s no objectivity! The idea that photography can represent truth, also means it can represent lies. And everything in between.

Heart NY, New York City, December 2019

Street Photography Tips – Slow Down

Yes, it’s true that street photography may be the most challenging type of photography. But that is mostly so because it requires that you give your mind entirely to capturing the shot.

So the first thing is to take control of your tool, your camera, and make it work for you. It doesn’t matter if you shoot in Auto Mode so long as it works for you.

Forget about the preview on the back of the camera! Please. If you shoot with a DSLR or a mirrorless only using the viewfinder you may find that to be an advantage. And yes, shooting film will teach you that as well. as there is no preview.

Monochrome Street Photography
Look Back, New York City, 10 March 2020

The reason I was able to capture this photo is because I make my luck. It doesn’t always happen. Yes, I miss quite a few shots. But I capture more than enough to keep me happy until my next shoot. Time changes everything. Just keep doing it.

When you slow down and observe you also have the possibility to capture many things in one photo. In this photo is the lucky number 3. They are also lined up and all on one side of the photo. The pattern of lines in the background provide a kind of leading line. The woman turning back represents an action. And the buildings at the top are in the top third of the frame.

So slow down and observe. And for those people that are a bit bored lately, try to see how many elements that you can get into one shot.

Photography is – Part Seven

If you ask me how long it took to make a single photo, my answer would be, my entire life. You can’t decide to pull something out of context. A photo always has a context, even when it is not obvious or conscious. Photography involves the whole being.

See Through, New York City, December 2019

Street Photography Tips – Working with Light

The winter light is beautiful for photography. Without light, there is no photography. The word photography literally means writing with light.

So learning how to take advantage of the light is a number one priority. I have always been a natural light photographer. I’m not especially fond of working with studio lighting or flash photography though I do occasionally use fill flash during daylight hours. This is of course, my personal preference.

I shoot all year and in all kinds of lighting situations. From bright sunny days to overcast days. I focus on following the light. There are times when I have a sense while shooting that I’m going to process in b&w or color. It becomes easy to see it while shooting.

Monochrome Street Photography
Stripes and Shadows, New York City, 14 March 2020

But there are other times when it’s only after uploading the photos to computer that I am able to decide. I often like to let my photos “marinate” for awhile before making that decision.

In this photo I was shooting into a window reflection and capturing shadows. I chose b&w because I wanted the focus to be on the lines and not distract the image with color.

I do hope that you are enjoying the winter light and it’s beautiful effects in photography. And for all the Australians and others who are in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer light is also very nice. Okay, I just love the light. Happy writing with light!

Photography is – Part Six

If photography looks easy, it’s because you are witnessing art. It is only easy in the sense that you also find it easy to do things that you always do. That does not take away from its value. Of course you rarely see the failures of any great artist. We are shown what is deemed to be worthy.

W 42nd St, New York City, December 2019