I’m often curious about the different kind of angles companies use to try to sell us stuff.
Especially stuff we don’t need.
A common poster seen in shops here is a number in a huge font taking up most of the available space, with a percentage sign next to it, and “off” written beside.
For example, 75% off.
What you usually don’t see without much closer inspection is the tiny words “up” and “to” in the top left of the poster.
So rather than the sale offering every item with 75% off the full price, it’s only stating the absolute maximum discount.
There may be a few items at 75% off, but most likely there’ll also be far more at only 50 or 25 or 10% off, obviously of progressively decreasing appeal to the discerning bargain hunter.
Usually there’ll also be some other disclaimer in very small print, like “selected lines only”, making the offer less attractive still, and in my view, decidedly more deceitful than it first appears to be.
With photography, we’re better off being far more honest and direct with ourselves than the advertisers are.
Instead of saying something like “up to 100% of the photographs I make today will be amazing”, we’re perhaps advised to go more with “making up to one photograph that I’m proud of today is enough”.
Note that “up to one” states one as the maximum, and also includes zero in its range.
In other words, coming home with just one photograph we love from any single photo walk is an excellent reward.
More important in my eyes, is the experience of seeking out and capturing photographs.
So I’m not talking about machine gun shooting the camera to try to increase our chances of capturing at least one decent image from the resulting hundreds.
This is about carefree photography, not careless photography.
It’s about lowering our expectations of the outcome, slowing down and leaning in to the experience. Optimising the sensory, emotional, even spiritual moments that photography can bring us.
And if we do come home with (up to) one photograph that makes us feel a warm glow inside as well, then what a bonus!
How about you? What are your typical expectations when you head out on a photowalk? And how do you weigh up the value of any photowalk, after it’s over?
As always, please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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