I don’t know exactly what I was thinking when I took my first photography class. It had a component of magical thinking: that there were a few well-guarded secret tricks that would produce stellar photographs one after the other. I also thought the really good photographers just lived in places with lots of interesting subjects, where the photo almost took itself. I wasn’t really sure why I needed a class: all I really needed was a little information and a plane ticket to interesting locations.
Since then, I’ve found that even a location as magnificent as Stonehenge will look mundane in a typical snapshot. Something that is magnificent to look at may prove to be beyond my skill, or the camera’s capability, to capture. Even wild buffalo fail to look interesting in a downpour. Sometimes the only photo one can take is filled with other photographers who are more willing to jostle their way to the front of the crowd.
Those secret tricks? One can get started with a relatively small number of guidelines and variables – but it’s hard to keep track of even a small number while out on a shoot. And these are just guidelines: nothing tells the photographer, “the way to capture this location is from grass-level” or “walk over there and take it from the other side.” But there are hundreds more photos that are boring, or even terrible, than photos that cause a person to stop and look.
So I really enjoyed the 10 Quotations from great photographers – and the superb pictures with which they were paired. You can see them in the slideshow below.
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