When you look at photographs what do you see? Pictures should be more than shallow glossy bits of paper. They should stimulate a reaction. Some of the best photographs tell a story and make you believe in a world that exists beyond the edges of the frame. If the image warrants further observation, try looking slightly deeper in to the photograph and see what the photographer is trying to say via the content of the picture – some clues to this may be given by the use of signs in the shot.
The importance of expression within photographs
Many years ago, in London’s Tate Gallery, I was admiring a painting of Mary Queen of Scots. It was not until a guide at the gallery explained to me what the dog, the phoenix and the countless other things on the canvas meant, other than being there to purely fill the frame, that I began to look at my whole outlook on paintings and photographs. already now I try to use this component of expression within my photography.
There are two factors that are important once you have started in photography. The first is the individual photographers or artist’s, which I believe is a natural in-built expression that matures as you acquire knowledge in photography techniques – consequently giving the individual a style. The second, is a collection of guidelines or rules.
Why do we take photographs?
I always like to have a good reason to take a photograph and, for me, it is important that the finished print achieves what I set out to state. People will either love or hate your images; it does not matter really as long as they please you.
Photographs need to be more than basic pictures that record and in my images I try to convey a strong emotive sense – such as thoroughness, mood and beauty.
The great painters knew how to stimulate and many of my pictures are influenced by painters and other photographers. My images have been inspired by photographers such as Steven Wader, Horst and Bob Carlos-Clarke, and painters such as Shalken, Bruegal and the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. I do not mind admitting this, as everyone is influenced in their work in some way by someone. To be original is probably one of the most difficult responsibilities to accomplish – but while influences are permissible, direct imitations are not.
Think about the message you want to portray
The best advice I can offer to someone beginning in photography, or to someone who is struggling to improvement, is to stop and think about what it is that they really want to say with their photographs and set out to unprotected to that goal. Before going in to the studio I always have a general idea of what I want to accomplish. I know that I probably will not get the picture exactly right on the first shot, but at the minimum I have a starting point.
It is a good idea to keep a fragment book of sketches, paintings, pictures and photographs as these can be a useful reference source from which you can formulate your own ideas. When shooting an image it will often take a large number of shots to unprotected to the picture you desire. It is well worth keeping record of these as a reminder of how near, in addition how far, you can be from what you consider to be the correct image. at all event your choice for the final pictures, it may not always be the right one unless it has that particular ‘X-factor’. Only you will know.