Friday, August 29, 2008

The important things

Jumping for joy.

Today my wife Magda asked me what have been my photographic highlights over all the years I've been photographing. Now that's a tough question.

I thought about it for a few minutes. Several images and sessions popped into mind and of course I could not choose the ONE. "It's impossible." I said. But something interesting started to emerge.

My all time favourite photographs are not necessarily the most perfect photographically. Instead the images and photo-sessions that stand out for me are the one's that have been made special by the people I photographed and was with at the time, by the circumstances and by the whole experience.

Naturally when you show your work other people don't know what you experienced when you took the image so they judge your work on its technical merit and there's usually an emotive element too. People looking at your image connect it to their own emotional world and experiences.

I've warned photographers in earlier blogs about being too emotionally attached to an image when they're putting together a portfolio. A magazine editor doesn't care how many hours you sat waiting for the shot, or whatever else you went through to get it. They can't smell the ocean and hear the birds, as you did when you took that image. Your experience at the moment you took the shot doesn't count when an image is being judged for an advertising campaign, a brochure, a competition or a magazine.

But it does count in real life. Every image is personal. You were there. You saw and you photographed. As image makers we should cultivate and treasure the personal bond we have with our work. We should become attached to the images we like and value them.

Many of my images are like old friends. A diary of my life. Memories to revisit. Some make me smile and others make me sad. That's life. And for me photography enriches life.

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