Morning thoughts

I woke up this morning really tired, so after convincing my wife she should stay in bed and rest, I’m sitting at my computer, relaxing, this morning instead of the hour long intense workout that is our normal 5 day a week routine.

That being said, I wanted to write out some thoughts I have been processing this morning.

What makes a person a photographer? Is it simply having a camera and taking pictures? Or have we made it to be something more? I spend a lot of time trying to glean from the works of duChemin, Jarvis, Grobl and others, sometimes achieving the challenge sometimes not but always trying.

So currently I have a list of challenges on my computer that I am attempting to accomplish. It is encouraging to me to know that even if I don’t have a photography gig for the week or however long, I still have something to push and challenge my creativity and depth in photography.

Sometimes it’s just hard to keep your eyes focused on the path and moving forward, especially after a really difficult shoot. This past Sunday night I was shooting an event and the lighting was terrible. The idea was to create an environment that just has enough light to see each other, but not too much. This is great for creating a modern space that appeals to group of young adults and teenagers, but trying to photograph the event in that lighting (without pulling out your flash) is quite difficult.

I found myself shooting with high ISOs and apertures between 1.4 and 2.8 depending on the lens I was using, and still I couldn’t get my shutter speeds high enough to really capture the images I wanted. When I got home and looked through the pictures and pulled out the ones I thought were decent I just sat there trying to see the good in all of this. It’s a funny thing because as frustrating as the shoot can be, I look back and love the fact that I got to pick up my camera and take pictures for someone. I got to creatively create something for someone to use to promote their ministry. Isn’t that what it’s all about, using our talent to help others?

So in closing, as I’m sitting here enjoying the quiet morning, I’m learning to use the difficult moments in this craft to push me ever forward, taking these moments and dissecting them, in a healthy way, to learn from them. Asking myself, what did I do right in this situation, what was good about the images I’m going to use, and of course, what could I do differently next time?

This craft is something we will always be working on; there will always be something to develop, someone who is better, and something to stretch us to our limits. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I love about being a photographer.

Creativity

What sparks creativity? Isn’t that the question that everyone wants answered? Wouldn’t making pictures be so much easier if creativity was simply pushing a button?

As much as I would love to think that there is a simple formula for creativity, what I know to be true tells me creativity isn’t something that is necessarily taught.

Creativity comes naturally and sometimes unexpectedly. It is all around you and in you (maybe deep down but none the less, it’s there).  I find that if I’m trying to make something happen creatively it will end up looking over thought and the end result will look nothing like what I had in mind.

Are some people more creative than others? Maybe, I don’t know, but I think that just as God has made us all creatively different, we are also given some level of that creativeness innately in us.

So if we all have some level of creativity, the question then is how to we develop it.

I just finished reading the 7 book Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling, and I am amazed at the depth of creativity in these books. I often found myself wishing that I could, just for a few hours, sit down and talk with Rowling about what goes on inside of her head. No, Harry Potter doesn’t have anything to do with photography, but the idea isn’t just taking pictures. Many times I found myself getting lost in the creative depth of Rowling’s books.

It can be easy to focus so much on the technique and science of photography that we lose sight of the real reason we are creating images. What if next time you went out to do a shoot, whether for yourself or for a client, you didn’t think about the relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture, but simply took pictures that looked good. Yes you need to think about the technical side of photography to really master it, but if we are letting it dominate over our creativity we need to step back and start over.

Humanitarian photography worldwide

Focus for Humanity - helping photographers to focus on Humanity

International humanitarian photography is my passion, that being said I wanted to take a second to share a website that I came across a few weeks ago that is focused on “providing grants to help photographers focus on humanity”

The website is Focus for humanity. The council of photographers representing Focus for Humanity consist of David DuChemin, Gavin Gough, Karl Grobl and others. What are they all about? “Our mission is to provide financial support, resources and training for professional and amateur photographers who capture these stories of our shared humanity and to help fund their work with NGOs.”

This is a great resource for anyone looking to enter into international humanitarian photography as they have grants for things like mentoring through the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers, connecting photographers with NGOs and helping potential professional photographers take the first step into their humanitarian photographic career.

My hope is, for anyone looking to transition or is already shooting in the humanitarian field of photography, that this foundation will be a great resource for you and that it will be a valuable tool as you seek to accomplish you passion to serve through photography.