Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The Why Before the How
Stop. Put your foot on top of your camera case. Don't take your camera out until you've answered this question:
Why am I about to take this picture?
The how of photography is well covered. Everyone wants to know how. They can't get enough of the how. Even when they know how, they want more. The why gets very little press. I'll bet there are 10,000 articles published on how-to for every article there is on why. Why? Beats me. Probably because the how is easy to write about.
Photographers spend oodles of time and gobs of money trying to get a sharper and sharper image. Blurry is bad. I understand that. What I don't understand is why they will go to the Nth degree for image sharpness, while the purpose of their pending photograph remains as some blurry notion. That blows my mind, because it weakens the photograph's potential.
The why should be as sharp as the lens. The reason for creating an image should be as clearly defined as the pixels on a 12-meg camera.
Get your mind sharp, and try to keep the why to seven words or less. At the very least, try to avoid going off on some vague tangent that ends up referring both to the plight of the Native American Indian and how your daddy never really understood you.
Now, you may remove your foot.