A photowalk the other day took me along the river Medway in Kent, and when the tree line broke I was greeted with this kind of view.
The city in the distance, the marshland littered with grounded, rusted boats in the foreground, and the river meandering in between, was pretty spectacular.
But I’m not one to go for the obvious shots with photography.
I made the above shot with my phone, just as a visual note of where I’d been, and continued with my usual approach of seeking out interesting and beautiful compositions on a much smaller and closer scale, with my trusty Lumix FZ38.
I think a couple of personal motivations are at work in these kinds of situations.
First, I don’t especially like going for the obvious in anything.
I’d rather be an outlier of some kind with my choices than ride the mainstream.
In photography this manifests in the gear I favour (these days generally 10-15 year old CCD sensor digital cameras), and entirely avoiding the upgrade parade.
In terms of subject, I also try to avoid the obvious – in the case above the sweeping landscape – and go for something more intimate, more unusual, and perhaps more memorable.
Second, my photography is also congruent with my general philosophies in life.
Ideas like –
– You don’t have to spend huge amounts of money to enjoy yourself (or in this case, your cameras). In fact investing larger amounts can often increase expectations, and then lead to greater disappointment when you realise spending so much hasn’t given you anything like a proportional increase in enjoyment, if any increase at all.
– Newest isn’t always best (and rarely is). I’ve had so much fun with 15 year old digital cameras and 50 (or more) year old film cameras, that I know I wouldn’t have with a new high end model.
– The beauty is nearly always in the tiny details. Whether that’s the tender hollow of someone’s lower back, or the curve and sweep of their collarbone, rather than their body viewed as a whole, or a burned old bit of driftwood with a rusty chain hanging from it, rather than the riverside panorama behind it.
How about you? Do you try to avoid the obvious shot with your photography? How do your general life philosophies influence how you photograph?
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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