It’s all in the perspective

Recently, I was reading this post on photographyfree4all’s blog, and it really got me thinking.  What is a photographer?  What makes a good photo?

If you’ve read any of my older posts, you’ll know that film photography is quite new to me.  Only in the last few months did I decide to pick up a film camera for the first time in over a decade.  I like to describe this camera hobby as something that starts as a small itch, but ends up spreading everywhere.  Before long, you end up like me, and find that you have quite a collection of cameras – medium format (120), 35mm, antique and specialised digital toycam alike.

When I first started taking photos with film recently, it was really hard for me to decide what would make a good photo, rather than something that’s just bland.  Obviously, film cameras don’t have previews, so it’s even more important to be able to visualise your photos before you take them.  Developing film isn’t cheap, after all.  I actually found myself being overly reserved with my photo-taking, thinking that there was nothing around me worth taking.

Which brings me to my photography tip for the day.  Around you are hundreds of photos.  We all get so used to seeing what’s around us everyday that we become somewhat desensitised to everything we see.  Think of a time when you were on holidays in a place you’ve never been – I bet you were often amazed by the simplest things.  Things that the locals probably didn’t think much of.  When you’re taking photos, think like a tourist.  Keep it simple.  Wait for the right time.

The photo above is something I see almost every day.  It’s the street my girlfriend lives on, and I literally took this leaning out of my car.  On this particular day, I liked the sun coming from the right, creating that contrast on the trees.  Looking at it now, I like that the lone red car on the left stands out from the two white/silver ones on the right.  I like the bin on the left which counterbalances the extra car on the right.

But you know what?  I wasn’t even thinking of all that at the time.  I just saw an opportunity for an image which someone with another perspective might find interesting, so I took a photo.  I think it turned out pretty okay.

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8 thoughts on “It’s all in the perspective

  1. I cannot agree more that we do get desensitized to seeing the same things over and over again, in reference to the place we live in. Being in a new place, I suppose, makes one pay attention to things one ordinarily does not pay attention to at home. I was in the lovely island of Bohol in the Central Philippines last April and being there, the eyes just seemed to feast on everything they were seeing for the first time. I was taking pictures with a digital camera, and after I downloaded these to my PC, while there were some stunning shots, I also came to the realization that many of the scenes I took shots off were not much different from other scenes I had seen in the country. I suppose it’s asking the brain to pay attention more that will enable anyone to see the thousands of pictures you mentioned that are all around even when we are in our own neighborhoods. Loved this blog post!

    Rex Raymond
    http://www.lifesomundane.net/

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    • I’m glad you liked it! But yeah, you’re spot on there. I’ve had the privilege of having had the opportunity to have gone to other countries, like Taiwan and Japan. After a while, I realised that a lot of the best photos are of really simple scenes.

      You’re right about asking the brain to pay more attention to small things. Things like this are all in the mind, really. I’ve been quite conscious recently in trying to look at things around me with a fresh perspective and every now and then, I see a scene that does end up photographing well.

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  2. Love this post!
    When you don’t even think about it (so to say) that’s when all the good photos are taken.
    I literally take hundreds and thousands of photos (just came back from my vacation in Hungary with 1917 photos), and they’re not all good, or clear, or breath takingly beautiful,
    but the ones that stand out are the one which were made ‘just because’ the scenery, flower, building, etc. was so beautiful I couldn’t not take a photo.

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    • Thanks for dropping by Estrella, I’m glad you liked it!
      Ooh, do you have any of the photos you took recently in Hungary on your blog? Haha when I first read what you said, I thought you wrote that you went thre IN 1917, which just confused me.

      I like the way you described it – the good photos are ‘just because’ they scene look beautiful. It’s really hard to train your mind to see these ‘just because’ photos to the things around you, especially if you’re using film and are constantly conscious of costs….

      I try to apply Occam’s razor (the simplest explanation is often the best) to photography, in a way. Basically, try to keep things simple.

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  3. Keeping things simple is the best 🙂

    Well having 1917 photos I need to get them sorted further before posting, but I may just do that tonight if I don’t have to stay too much at work 🙂 Photos will somehow get published this week.
    I use a digital camera which I bought with my very first salary a few years back, so being conscious of cost luckily doesn’t apply over at my end (which is just great considering how many photos I take :P) I do need to remember recharging batteries though.

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    • Oh wow, that camera must have so much sentimental value, too! 😛
      On a tenuously related note, I do find that I get unnecessarily attatched to inanimate objects with sentimental value. I’d probably want to keep something like that camera of yours for as long as possible.

      The funny thing is that I actually do have a digital camera, but I find myself being drawn more and more into using my recently acquired film ones. I find it fun… but it’s terribly expensive to develop here in Australia, especially the old medium format ones like 120 film.

      I’m looking forward to your photos!

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    • Heh, no problem! Your post really got me thinking – I started with “what makes a good photographer?” and ended up on “what makes a good photo?”. After all is said and done, though, in the end it just comes down to having fun.

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