I’m no longer so ashamed to say; the more I see of what is considered photographic ‘art’ the more I find agreement with that old arcane quip: “If I can do it it’s not art” A statement backing up the opinion that artwork is invalid because they, as the ungifted could reproduce the same piece without much effort or thought at all. What’s more unfortunate is this type of work is not only prevalent in the fine art world but has managed to gain acceptance in the consumer market as buyers of photographic services have been so jaded by the pop culture and over-saturation of images they actually believe poor execution is somehow desirable!
To archive a true heirloom-worthy photograph- one which will long outlive the subject and photographer takes skill. Living in the moment is one thing but to document the moment with accuracy is the stock in trade of an experienced professional. Consideration must be given to content…DID I SAY CONTENT? YES- WHAT DOES THE PICTURE CONTAIN?!!..light, shadow, proper focus, composition and expression each time the shutter is tripped. ‘GRAB-SHOTS’ are a roll of the dice and believe me, after 43 years in the business of making and studying photographs there is always something missing from a grab shot.
A good example of a carefully designed spontaneous image is the great Eisenstaedt image- “V-J Day in Times Square” explained in this article courtesy of Adam Marelli of PetaPixel –
Perhaps this is a little too deep for consumers of photography and even most photographers. Especially if they spend more time deciphering the principles of design rather than getting the shot, but you can just see what talent for instantaneous deliberations were put to use in Eisenstaedt’s head when he constructed this shot and so many others.
Photoshop can only do so much without reconstructing the entire scene. Then you may as well hire a digital artist to create your event from his desk.
How many times have you heard a bride say her photographer took 2000 shots at her wedding? How many of those 2000 images are actually useful to the bride and her family? How many would make the grade above the fireplace in her home and be valued by the great-grandchildren for years to come? I guarantee you Eisenstaedt did NOT need or was even able to shoot 2000 to get the good one.
Some of the greatest photographers of all time were limited to one or two shots on glass plates behind a massive bellows camera seeing an upside-down image on the glass.
Much of what is considered art today will quickly become the polyester leisure suit of tomorrow. Part of the reason I entered a photography career was to have a part of me live on in each image I create. That is my passion and is where I get my inspiration. Feel free to write me on the contact form of my site or facebook if you would like to chat more about this approach.