Monday, January 13, 2014

Let your photographs mature

In November 2012, Sarah and I went on a trip to Waterton Lakes Provincial Park in the most southern tip of Alberta. It was an interesting weekend weather wise. The wind was blowing hard and mix in some rain/sleet and you get the picture.

I made a few photographs back then. And developed them a few weeks later.

Looking at those negatives, I thought I came back empty handed. Nothing on the few rolls of film I had developed really jumped out at me. Sure there was that photograph of Cameron Falls taken at the beginning of the trip that I thought would be OK. After scanning it and 'printing' it, I thought it was too busy and discarded it.

Fast forward to the first week of January 2014.

I was browsing through my library of film scans when my eye caught that photo again. Immediately I got excited. I opened up the photograph and started wondering why I had not shared it previously. This was a good photograph. Sure it needed a few minimal tweaks but overall, it had good body.

That got me wondering. How was it that my opinion on it was so different then last year? Did something change? And if so, what?

I think I've matured somewhat in my approach to photography lately. When I took this photograph, I had just let go of digital six months or so prior (August 2012). It was still very tough for me to have a clear visualization of scenes I wanted to photograph and how I wanted it to look on the negative and in the final print. I can now say that that visualization process has matured and I have a better handle on how things look on the negative then before.

Also my taste has changed. I've been reading many books over the past months. All of which are by old masters. And I think I am getting influenced by their work a lot.

Now with my recent change to 4x5 I suspect that call will become louder and louder.
I think that's the reason why I liked this photograph all the sudden.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Resolutions

Over the last few days I've been reading a lot of 'Best Of' blog entries by fellow photographers and one thing is striking me more then ever. A lot of people had fantastic years! And most of them produced a body of work that I really enjoyed reviewing.

It's also a tradition for me to post a blog in the first week of January with my resolutions for the coming year. I believe it is a great exercise to think about your goals as much as it is to think about your photography. Goals give you targets to focus your energy towards. Maybe those goals can guide you back to your photographic path if you ever find yourself stuck in a rut.

Over the past week or so, I've been giving this a lot of thought. Here goes.

My resolutions for 2014 are:

- Start photographing in 4x5. 
My medium format gear is tucked away right now and I am not going to use it this year at all. I believe that if you want to accomplish something major, one must concentrate fully on the task at hand. When I switched over from digital to medium format, I lugged both cameras around in the beginning. Let me tell you, what a waste of time. Now, it's 4x5 and nothing else. I anticipate starting to photograph in the next few weeks. I got a few nicknacks left to buy (a loupe and dark cloth) and then I am ready to rock and roll.

- Write my first photographic article.
I got to say that I've been wanting to do this for quite some time now but I never found the strength to actually follow through. SO that is a big reason why I'm putting this on the list.

- More magazine features.
Magazine features became a very important tool for me to share my work last year. I want to continue on that trend.

- More submissions to galleries.
And maybe find another gallery or two that could potentially represent my work.

- Meet fellow togs.
Meet more photographers and befriend them. A no-brainer really.

- Print the work I feel strongest about more. 
We can stare at our work on computer screens all day long but that doesn't make it a photograph. A print is what actually defines a photograph. I need to do more printing.

- Teach and talk.
I'd like to continue the trend of teaching workshops once in a while and speak in public about photography. About what drives us to do what we do. Doing the preparations for these talks teaches me so much about my own work. It's an exercise of 'inner reflection' really. You should try it one day.

Those are the areas I want to focus upon this year.
I would love to hear what your plans are for 2014.