Daily!? I’d be happy with weekly!

Josef Koudelka, one of the great photographers of our time, wrote:

“You have to photograph daily, like a pianist who must practice every day. You must retain the ability to capture what you’re seeing. Otherwise you will be blind, even though you can see.”

Actually, I read that quote in German, and assume it was translated from his native Czech. I’m sure it’s more elegant in his mother tongue…

I am getting so little time to photograph these days that I am seriously concerned about losing the ability to express myself creatively. To really capture what you see, especially when shooting people, means the camera must be an intuitive extension of you. As soon as you start fretting about the gear, and thinking about adjusting, you’ve lost the shot.

The problem is that I’m not shooting every day. I have to admit that my entire family is very supportive. They like many of my images, and encourage me to go out shooting more frequently. Especially The Listmaker says “Honey, go out and shoot for a couple of hours” but that doesn’t really work. It is impossible (for me) to simply slip into photographer mode between two business meetings. My mind is working on the business side, and can’t just switch over to creative mode.

…but I have pledged myself to try, and will make a point of carrying a camera with me as often as is reasonable. There are a lot of circumstances where it is inappropriate, of course… but having it with me will leave me with fewer excuses!

Snapshot of the day:

thatcher-cook-various-051

One comment

  1. rothblogvisitor said:
    2009/02/17
    20:25

    I interviewed Jock Sturges once. His take was something like “a thousand roles” was a minimum if you wanted to get good at shooting something. It sounds extreme, but the flip side is that you will hone your instincts if you keep at it, which can be a boost sometimes. Our instincts are already there in raw form. First we have to trust them, and go with them even if the results seem a little mumbled or spastic. Then we have to hone them, polishing and clarifying, something that goes on always and forever once we begin.
    As for losing your shooting muscles, I can say this. After not shooting a still camera for 4 years all through college, when I picked Photography up again, my eye had still grown, and the pictures were in some ways better than what I had been doing 4 years earlier, certainly not worse. You may become sluggish, and slow to hear the little impulse to shoot (I rarely know what or why I am shooting until afterwards), but your instincts will always save you.

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