Why do you shoot what you shoot?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Gabriel, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Gabriel

    Gabriel TPF Noob!

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    If you're into mostly one discipline of photography, what is it that attracted to you to it? What keeps you coming back?

    What does it do for you?

    If you're a beginner or haven't found your photographic "voice" just yet, where do you think you're headed and why?

    I've asked myself this question many times over the years, and have even posted about it on other forums now and then. I have shot everything from news (smaller papers) to fashion to wildlife. My friend says that he sees in my photos that I am always looking for something, but that I have not found it yet. What I have mostly shot over the years, more than anything else, are beautiful women. But this isn't doing it for me anymore, and hasn't for years.

    I don't claim to fully understand fashion - I may understand the concept, but I don't always get the point. I just love classically beautiful women, iconoclasts of sophistication and desire. Unfortunately, this isn't enough for me these days. It truly bothers me that practically none of the work I have produced over the years says anything about me beyond a couple of idiosyncrasies that show up here and there.

    Besides shooting women, the only other field of photography that has truly polarized me has been documentary work. I probably have more monographs and other books by or about photojournalists, street photographers, and documentarians than anything else. I don't know what has stopped me all these years - maybe now is when I have reached a level in my life where I will not only truly comprehend what will happen in front of me, but I'll know how to shoot it and where to go with it.

    It actually took me well over a year to understand what direction my photography was taking me. Currently, I'm working on finding the right subjects for my two primary projects. In the meantime, let's hear your answers to the questions posed above.
     
  2. CWN

    CWN TPF Noob!

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    My driving force would be my kids. They are what motivated me to pursue photography on a more serious level.

    My goal was simple, not only to capture the moments - but to be the photographer for their yearly portraits.

    It's proven to be a much larger goal than I had originally planned on. I had thought that once I had the right camera (DSLR) and knew what the basics were, that it would be pretty simple after that.

    Wrong.

    Composition, poses, lighting... and above all, patience.

    After almost a year I'm getting there, and my wife has finally said my shots from this weekend look 'professional', and has (for the first time) said that we will be using my photographs for our sons 2 year portrait.

    I'm completely thrilled - my wife is my harshest critic, which bothered me at first - but without her honesty about my work I never would have pushed myself to improve. I still have a long way to go, but at least now I know I have what it takes to get the job done.

    Now to increase the keeper ratio!
     
  3. Gabriel

    Gabriel TPF Noob!

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    I like your sig, "Recreational Photographer." :thumbup:

    I've also photographed children (two years and under), by themselves or as part of a family portrait, and though I dreaded the initial shoot, I found that it was not as bad as I had been thinking. Still, it does take a lot of patience, and you better be quick on the draw - it's almost like shooting wildlife, because if you missed the shot, chances are you won't be getting another chance again.
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Driving Force: A way to look at the world.
    When I began shooting, it was mostly landscapes. I hated shooting ppl since it never came out the way I wanted to. At work it was easier, i take sq bronica and shoot reception - framing wasn't much of an issue lab cropped to correct it, lighting was already setup by me and photog, and focusing 9THANK G-D for split screen. On my own I couldn't take a portrait if my life depended on it - so i stayed away from it. But I got bored of landscapes, some ppl can get a shot of a mountain and it'll tell a story, BUT that ain't me; so I spend more time learning composition, lighting, exposure, basic photoshop stuff. And since there is real no way to get worse, I got better and better :)~
    I am intending on switch or rather adding more documentary approach to both work and personal photography, maybe even play with landscapes a bit but need to do a little research in the areas and see what are more efficient ways to approach them other then experimenting.
    Thats my story :)
     
  5. photographyprogess

    photographyprogess TPF Noob!

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    Well, I would say it like this: I have no clue of what I am doing. But as long as I enjoy it, I'll keep on doing it.

    But why do I shoot it?

    I've always been interested in people and the society, and as a post-modernist I try to view the society from one perspective. So this would translate into street photography for most people, but I prefer to say I just observe my surroundings.


    As for landscape photography? I totally suck at it. Simple as that. I find landscapes boring, and I've never found landscapes interesting. (Probably because there are usually no people.)

    But I also try to find and learn new areas of photography to get inspiration, and for the moment it's the wonderful world of macro photography. This is giving me some new ideas to use in my other work. :wink:
     
  6. jbylake

    jbylake Dodging the Men in Black Supporting Member

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    Hmmm, interesting question. I like outdoors, which includes anything from an old bridge to a piece of junk rusting in a field.

    My favorite thing to shoot, though, is not the things that make me smile, but the things that hurt me...seeing old wino's and derilicts in the street..crack heads in ally's, aftermath of gang activity, those who have little...don't ask me why, I really can't explain it.

    However, I must admit, these types of shot's and the places I have to go to get them are getting more dangerous by the minute, so, not so much anymore.

    I've got a new "challange". Some folks I know have a lot of controversy over whether or not their bar is haunted, I've been nominated to sleep in the basement and shoot some infared film and video. I'm calling bulls***, but still not sure I want to accept that challange, still thinking about it.

    Oh and clouds and storms. Live in a highly tornadic and storm prone area, and love cloud photography, and landscape.

    I could try to go into some psuedo-intellectual diatribe why I like these things, give my photo's exotic names, etc...but the real truth is, well, it just makes me feel good....and bad. Go figure. Sure you can get better answers from other's with similar interests, but the best you'll get out of me is.."I don't know"...:lol:

    J.:confused:
     
  7. manicmike

    manicmike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I usually shoot a lot of motorcycle racing. It started out because I love riding but unfortunately don't have the income right now to race, and probably won't any time in the near future. I talked my wife into letting me do some photography of racing because it's "cheaper" ;) and I can get pictures of our kids as well.
     
  8. Mendoza

    Mendoza TPF Noob!

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    I'm mostly into nature and abstract photography. I'm continually attracted to photography because, apart from the occasional reward of a nice image, it puts me in a state of focused relaxation. My attention and energy is diverted from an encyclopedia of neuroses to something constructive and edifying, and for a period of time the weight of the world doesn't seem so burdensome.
     
  9. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, for starters my niche is landscape large format black and white photography. Now to the answers. Which is neat this happened on now as I just realized what has been going on a few days ago. So, without further ado . . .

    The film part was not so much attracted as it was what I was given twenty years ago. Ten years ago it was what I could afford. Now, well, I have shot with film for so long I cannot imagine doing my own serious work in any other medium.

    The black and white part. I have viewed photographs for many years as well. Color work by Galen Rowell. Black and White by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston It was not until a few days ago at B&N that I picked up a copy of 'Ansel Adams in Color' or whatever it is called. I did not like it. Sure, the photographs were superior in form and flow. However, as color photographs, they lacked the saturation that Rowell and others have coaxed from their Velvias and whatnot. It was then that I realized just how much I have come to prefer black and white over color photography. Both in practice and enjoyment.

    As to the large format, well, it has been a gradual thing. I have had a 4x5 for a year and a half and it is just this month that I have carried the 4x5 everywhere and the Minoltas have been sitting in the study for the last month. Never saw that coming.

    What keeps me coming back is the slow and deliberate methodology I practice when making a large format photograph. It's not so P&S as my XG-1's (though I seldom P'd and S'd). It is slow and very calming. And the people always ask where to put the real camera.

    I have taught myself to process my own negatives and to make my own enlarged and contact prints. All in traditional black and white materials. I soup in HC110, Kodak Indicator SB, Kodafix and PhotoFlo. All compliments of the Great Yellow Father. I print on Ilford papers. I suppose it is the satisfaction that I have my hand in every phase of my photography from exposure to printing.

    Upon realizing all of the work that digital process entails, post processing in front of an LCD monitor holds no appeal for me. I love the smell of the fixer. (OH YEAHHHHH!!!!!!) I love the prints hanging over the sink drip drying. I love breaking my back in an eight hour printing session. Be a long time before I do that again.

    I have complete control over my medium and I know what the finished product will look like when I press the shutter release. As I have poured my soul, sweat and tears into my photography, it has reciprocated with years of fun and joy that I could not have acheived in any other fashion.
     
  10. altitude604

    altitude604 TPF Noob!

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    I focus mainly on Aviation Photography as it's a big part of my life and photography is another way for me to appreciate it.

    Although I'm always trying new things to get inspiration and improve the quality of the shots I take.
     
  11. rocdoc

    rocdoc TPF Noob!

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    I shoot it for the same reason Mallory climbed the Everest: because it's there. Luckily in our hobby one can safely hope for a better fate than his.
     
  12. Rekd

    Rekd TPF Noob!

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    I'm a freelance writer. I started by blogging for fun when my first son was born and it quickly turned into a part time job. I gradually merged writing about kids with writing about motorsports and moved almost exclusively to writing about motorsports. I have to supply pictures with my stories and blog posts and got tired of trying to find CC images and crediting them to other people so I started taking my own shots almost exclusively.

    For several years I shot with a Sony Cybershot and did pretty good for a point and shoot. Learned to frame pretty good and learned how to time shots given the fact the Sony has a frame rate of about 2 seconds per frame, and about a half second of shutter lag.

    I was eventually able to justify buying a DSLR and now I'm basically starting over. :)

    Bottom line: I do it for the money. But as with my day job as a CNC programmer, I love my job so I do it for fun, too. :thumbup:
     

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