“Significant” Photos

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams

The challenge that I, and many other amateur photographers face is getting out and taking photos. It’s easy for life to get in the way. This is why I’ve specifically made taking photos a goal for my 20 week challenge. I had initially thought about doing a photo a day challenge, but I felt that would in some ways be too hard and in others too easy. Too hard to stick to and run the risk of getting bored with it, but also too easy to just quickly whip out my phone and take a photo of something around me that doesn’t actually mean anything. So instead I set a goal of taking (and posting) one significant photo a week.

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
Don McCullin

So what is a significant photo? Well, I think everyone will have a different definition. For me it has two parts: intention and result. The intention part is about being deliberate. Deliberately going somewhere or doing something with the intention of taking photographs. With cameras on our phones now it’s easy to just snap away at things that we see. But that’s not what I’m after when I talk about a significant photo. That’s not say if I see something interesting I won’t get my phone out and take a photo of it. But I want to get out into the world beyond home and work and have adventures that are driven by and inspired by my photography.

I want to put some thought and planning into what I’m going to photograph. I’ve started a photo journal which I use for planning, inspiration, ideas and learning. That’s not to say that you can’t have some flexibility. I may go up into the port hills with the intention of taking a landscape photo but come back with a wildlife photo.

The other part is the end result. I could go somewhere and take a bunch of photos, but if I don’t think and take care when I get there I may not come back with any that I like or that are any good. I suppose it’s very much about being deliberate again. It’s not just snapping a bunch of photos as you walk along a track. It’s thinking and looking for the photos that are there. And then its coming home and critically analysing the photos you have taken. Choosing the ones to edit. And then choosing the ONE to share.

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.”
Irving Penn


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