Liking Your Photos

I spend a lot of time looking through my photos trying to decide what I like and what I don’t and what I will share on social media. Maybe I don’t even spend enough time making those decisions because I take so many photos!

When I decide that I like a photo or not, it’s more about how I feel about the photo rather than looking at it with a “critical” eye.

I also spend a lot of time looking at photos by others. Some well known and many who are not well known. I am often in awe of their work. The thing I don’t see are the photos that they reject and what it took for them to arrive at their current work.

Likewise, you don’t see the photos that I reject! I’m not just talking about bad exposures or really missing the shot either though they are certainly a factor. What I like or don’t like today may change in the future. It does happen that way.

The New Stellar, New York City, March 2019

When looking at the work of others, photography can be very deceiving. It often “looks” easy. It can be discouraging if you try too hard to imitate the work of others or if you imagine that everything that they do is perfect.

What’s really great about viewing the work of other photographers is that it often gives license to do things that you might not otherwise do! Have you ever looked at a photo that you really liked and said oh, I did that once and I didn’t think it was a good shot? It has happened to me many times.

So maybe it’s not so much about quantity in photography but quality. The more that you give yourself license to experiment in photography and pursue photography that you are happy with, the better you become.

That is true no matter what level you are at in photography. Perhaps even more so if you are really experienced. Why you ask? Because many photographers once they hit a certain level rest on what has worked for them in the past and don’t continue to evolve their art.

For newer photographers, it’s often a fear of not being accepted. Which is unfortunate. I spent many years in that mode of shooting. The most important thing is that you are pleased with your work and that you recognize the work that you are happy with rather than focusing on the ones you don’t like.

Somewhere between the two you can determine what to focus on and how to achieve that. Perhaps it takes a little courage. But it is worth it. Happy shooting! And yes, it helps if you’re happy when you’re shooting!

Curiosity & Enthusiasm

I consider curiosity and enthusiasm to be two of my biggest assets in photography And in life. What’s the difference between photography and life? As far as I can tell, there is no difference.

Curiosity means always maintaining a level of interest in the things going on around me. Those things are vast and always changing even though I continually shoot in the same neighborhoods.

It’s easy to become bored with the same old things if you only look at the surface and move on. If you move too quickly. But when you have genuine curiosity, it opens up a world of inspiration.

I am always wondering about humanity and the city that I photograph. Fortunately, I am also typically enthusiastic as well. I don’t remember the last time I turned on the television. There’s something far more interesting about real life.

Monochrome Mood 13, New York City, August 2018

I think that one of the things that people who go on my photo tours or attend my workshops come away with is my enthusiasm for the city and the neighborhoods and people AND photography!

A photograph is about that curiosity and the desire to understand the world that I live in and to experience the diversity of it. For me, being a street photographer is always about having an open mind and being willing to experience life as it is presented to me.

I don’t know what it is that allows me to maintain my sense of curiosity and enthusiasm. I say that I was born that way. But another asset of mine is my sheer determination. It would have been easy for me to give up on photography a long time ago. But I didn’t. Well, maybe it wouldn’t have been that easy!

Open-mindedness & Creativity

I’ve been shooting for the better part of 50 years and it doesn’t cease to amaze me. I think of myself as always somewhat new to photography. I don’t know if half a century really means that much.

There are many photographers out there that have been shooting for a much shorter amount of time than I have and they are “better” than me. Whatever better means as there are so many criteria to base that on.

Art is always subjective, it’s always in the eye of the beholder, There’s no clear cut decision on that. I think I still have quite a way to go. I can say that I am far from bored with photography. Perhaps I am in fact the opposite of bored. I am enthusiastic about it!

I feel that I have far more to learn and experience ahead of me than what came before. What I can say about shooting for 50 years with a fair amount of certainty is that I do it out of passion and sheer persistence. Maybe I’m the tortoise. Yes, even a late-bloomer.

I hope that the blooming continues for some time to come as it is very exciting to me. I find that I continue to shoot in the same neighborhoods, even the same streets, and I always find something new.

Bail Bonds Row, New York City, August 2017.

Or perhaps like my favorite quote from Marcel Proust, it’s about seeing with new eyes. That is always my biggest challenge to myself. When I stop seeing with new eyes is when I’ll quit.

It is also very exciting and I feel very fortunate to meet some amazing people in my workshops and photo tours. They are at various stages of life and photographic experience as well as nationality.

And they almost always approach photography with an open mind. Looking to learn something new. The desire to learn new things can be very contagious and I become inspired by the new eyes of beginners and the openness of experienced photographers to take on new challenges. The exchange of ideas is very helpful. Closed- mindedness may very well be the biggest threat to creativity.

If photography, in general, and street photography more specifically, aren’t about being open-minded than I’ll quit right now. But that’s not my experience! I believe that it’s important being around people who are like-minded in that respect. I don’t mean that they like everything that you do. But that they are willing to look at it at a deeper level. Beyond the obligatory social media “like”. Having honest feedback is very cool and also rare!

Welcome to Curious Frame!

I started Curious Frame as a method of compiling my writing on photography in one place. Writing is a different activity and deserves a different location. It is a complement to my other sites.

After shooting for many decades now and making the transition from analog to digital photography, I have spent much time thinking about photography.

Life Goes On, February 2013

We live in a world that is bombarded with images. Yet we have very few tools or typically time to try and understand what it all means. So my focus is for the most part about the art of photography and attempting to at least posit some interesting questions if I am unable to arrive at a definitive answer to what any of it really means.

It is of course possible that it means something different to everyone that encounters photography. I would like to think that this is a zone for slow photography. Like slow eating it is meant to be chosen wisely and consumed slowly. About spending more than 10 seconds looking at an image. If you like a photo, is it enough to “like” it and run?

At any rate, I do hope that you enjoy Curious Frame and that you will feel compelled to enter into a conversation about photography.

Thank you,

Leanne