Artists always strive to be unique. They may do this with certain techniques not commonly used with mediums or they may go as far as inventing their own thing. When they start to get really good at their own thing, you really begin to realize the level of depth one can achieve with art in the conceptual sense. You begin to realize the boundless possibilities that are only allowed through art.
Rocks are as old as the galaxy and the earth. They’ve been used for primitive cave man drawings and over time they’ve been repurposed for sculpture, etc. Taking such a heavily used commonplace material and using them as a basis for a unique type of art is by no means a simple feat. Rock balancing has been around for a while but by no means is it a simple discipline.
While walking to Queen Street I noticed a crowd around what appeared to be rock sculptures. At the center of it all was a man extremely carefully balancing a concrete block on top of some rocks. The look of focus in his eyes kept the crowd silent while the annoying sounds of traffic on the street beside became so ever more apparent. I looked into it and the man behind it goes by the name of Peter Riedel, a Torontonian Photographer. I can only wonder how he has the patience to do what he does.
“You need to remember that sometimes what you leave out is just as important as what you put in the shot.”
Simon is a London based photographer that in this quote describes one of the most common amateur mistakes; trying to fit everything into the view finder. Nowadays with digital photography and Photoshop, you can safely keep in mind that you can just crop out whatever doesn’t look good and click away madly at the scenes around you. The merit behind this quote is that with pure photography, you simply don’t need the post-processing (editing) stage if you’re that good. This is similar in cinematography where you can add in computer generated images and bad special effects while all of that can be achieved better if it were shot correctly the first time. As long as you’re the one pointing the camera, you have the power to compose a great shot. Don’t muddy it up with the unnecessary.
“Your first 10 000 photographs are your worst.” -Henri Cartier Bresson
Photography is one of those things that takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. The ease of pressing the shutter button is incredible since it produces a piece of art each time (some much better than others). But like many other things in the world, improvement comes with practice. In the words of Bresson, about 10 000 photographs work of practice. While that sounds intimidating, photography is one of those things that you can do over the course of your life. Especially with how accessible cameras of all forms are nowadays. The nice thing about them is that you can pick up any camera and transfer your knowledge from one to another. So it doesn’t matter how many photos you take on your camera. What matters is how many you take in your life. Think of how many times you’ve clicked like on a photo on Facebook. Now think about pressing the shutter button on your camera instead.
A meaningful piece of artwork is usually both well visually and conceptually tied together.
“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” -Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams says this with great experience behind him. He is one of America’s most famed black and white photographers that worked in the 20th century. This quote can be literally related to photography such as in the context of a random snap shot that is focused and exposed correctly but lacks any significant meaning. This expands to other fields like designs that are functional versus aesthetically pleasing. You can even take this deeper and think of it as a way of life like in the context of why you pick the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, the foods you eat, etc. You can do all of these things flawlessly but keep in mind the context of why you do things the way you do them.
Remember that everything you do can be as sharp and precise as you want them but if its for a fuzzy purpose then consider, what is the point?
“What the photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially.”
-Roland Barthes –from his book Camera Lucidia: Reflections on Photography
This quote describes the beauty of photography. We’ve all heard a picture is a captured moment in time yet you never realize that no matter how many prints you make or how many times you snap the shutter, it is impossible to recreate that moment. So keep in mind that next time you take a picture, that moment is unique and will last forever.
This book is a great read for those who are interested in understanding photography beyond pointing the lens and clicking the shutter. It helps you to see photography on a more philosophical yet very artistic level and can be an eye opener for experienced and novice photographers alike.