Don’t Shoot All the Time
Some people may disagree with me, but I don’t think shooting all the time is the best way to improve our vision. It’s quite a recurrent advice though and I agree that the more we shoot, the more our skills will improve — to some extent. However, I do think it is sometimes important to forget about the camera and let our mind breathe and focus on something different.
Don’t get me wrong. Going for a photo shoot as often as we can is a good way to practice and improve, and I’d certainly recommend that to every aspiring photographer. However, when we reach a point where photography is becoming obsessional and exclusive, I think that we ought to give our mind a small break and focus for a little while on something that is not photography-related.
Some say that our photographs are representative of what we are. The music we listen to, the books we read, the people we meet, … they’re all part of us and unconsciously influence the way we see. It is then very important that we take the time to feed our mind with something else than photography. We could for example discover an unknown kind of music, visit a paintings exhibition, read a book on quantum physics, or just have a relaxing walk in a forest.
Do not misinterpret my thoughts though. I am absolutely not saying that we shouldn’t push ourselves when the envy to go shooting isn’t there. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. We have to, no excuses! No one can become good at their craft if they don’t kick their ass quick and strong when procrastination and laziness take over. You can blindly believe me here, I know what I’m talking about ;-)
Also, one — if not the most — important aspect in photography is to take the time to observe. When something catches our interest, it is a good thing to stop and think before clicking the shutter. What do I find interesting? How could I compose my photograph and make my subject clear? Is the light good or should I come back? Could someone or a silhouette between me and my subject give more impact to my photograph? What message do I want to convey? All these questions will help us to figure out how to make the best of our subject and all too often are they forgotten; either by the fear of missing something of interest, or because of the will to photograph as much places as possible in a given amount of time. Likewise, taking the time once in a while to wander without a camera can help us seeing things we wouldn’t have seen with a camera in our hands. In a way, we should sometimes go making photographs with our mind, not our camera.
So if you want to improve your vision, do whatever you like but don’t shoot all the time!
Are you a serial shooter unable to imagine photography without making photographs all the time? Do you need to get away from photography every once in a while in order to refresh your vision? I’d love to hear your point of view on this subject in the comments.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of #MakePhotographs or feel outraged by what’s written here, please read this.