To make or not to make...
A tongue in cheek comment has got me thinking about the infrequency of my image making and wondering whether I should be anxious about it!
The question was posed; if we make fewer images as we become more proficient photographers then what would happen if one ever achieved genius level? Would it mean that one would never make an image again? Perhaps the genius landscape photographer would still wander across the land, a forlorn figure, glancing around from time to time and completing a stunning composition in their head but never bothering to get their camera out of the bag. Perhaps they have achieved some Zen like state of perfection but perhaps it's just a case of seen that before, done that already!
It is undoubtedly true that many photographers (myself included) make fewer images the longer that they have been photographers. Rather than a symptom of creeping apathy or rising indifference this is, in fact, a healthy sign. It means that we're learning from our accumulated experience, that we're realising more consistently what images will or won't work before we press the shutter. I'd be very worried indeed if I was still making as many mistakes now as I did twenty years ago!
Making fewer images doesn't necessarily mean that at some point we will run out of images or feel that we don't need to make any more. I find that the longer I work as a photographer the more possibilities I realise for image making, that I see beyond the obvious and notice subjects that a year or two before I wouldn't even have realised could be used as the basis for successful images. However, these possibilities are often more technically or compositionally challenging than my earlier work. And this factor also means that I'm likely to make fewer images.
So, rather than feel downhearted, I view this dwindling as a positive sign. The images that I make may be fewer in number but I feel that their quality improves with each passing year.
Workshop at Linhof & Studio
Paula and I will be running another LF workshop in Leigh on Sea in spring 2008. Details will be posted on the Linhof website in due course or if you just can't wait contact Paula on +44(0)1702 716116 for further details and to reserve a place.