So much to say and yet so hard to say it

Most people suffer from writers block, where they run out of ideas or they have a hard time putting things down in black and white. I have the complete opposite problem. I have so many ideas in my head and so many things to comment on or to write about that they all get jumbled up in a huge mass and fight with each other trying to get out.

Try as I might to get my thoughts organized into cohesive bits and strings of rational commentary nothing seems to come of it. I have tried just about every thing in the books about organization but I still have the same old problem, organization.

I have tried jotting down on bits of paper the things that pop into my head but those fleeting pieces of paper disappear into the nether  never to be seen again.

I used to carry a large organizer that I spent to much money on thinking that that would be the impetus to actually use it, NOT. The only benefit of carrying that thing around all the time was one arm longer than the other. I would open it from time to time but mostly it was just an albatross. Thinking of it now, it is sitting somewhere gathering dust.

The electronics age hasn’t helped much either. I have a huge collection of electronic gadgets in a box in my closet taking up space but not accomplishing much else. Does anyone remember the Handspring? It is an amazing gadget that would take different modules for a multitude of tasks. You could plug in a module to do diagnostics on a car or another to check your blood sugar or yet another to read barcode. Back in the day it was the cutting edge of technology and was, in my opinion, The first PDA/cell phone. I have about a dozen of those things plus the docks and cables and all of the detritus that accompanies them but did I ever get organized, No. If anything, I became distracted by all of the little gadgets that you could get for it and forgot about what they were originally intended for.

I thought that the iPhone would assist me in my quest to get organized and be able to put my thoughts out into the the nether. I have had the 3g, 3gs and 4 but all I got for my efforts was a huge headache and information overload. Having mobile access to the world wide web is not a good thing all of the time. If anything it has made my problem insurmountable now because all the ideas in my head are now being joined by all of the other ideas floating around on the web. To make matters even more abysmal, I have now added the Samsung Galaxy Note II to the list of gadgets and it is worse now because it is so much better at distracting me than the iPhone ever was.

In College, I had a writing Professor tell me that my biggest problem was “perfection”. Every thing has to be perfect the first time around or I get caught up in the fact that it is not and become frustrated with it to the point of not doing anything. His suggestion was to get it down first and then worry later about making it perfect, yeah, right. Easier said than done. In the years since then I have come to my own conclusion, I don’t want to. Some how, subconsciously, I have decided that I don’t want to organize my ideas, I don’t want to write things down, I just don’t want to. I have yet to come up with a better reason for my personal peccadillo and still no way to convince myself that I actually Do want to do it, because I actually do, I really really do.

The Business of Photography

Wedding Photography

For most people, photography would not be considered a business except when they need to have portraits done or hiring a wedding photographer, then it is just a necessary evil. Photography is an activity taken on by parents or grand parents snapping pictures of “special” occasions and usually cutting off the top of uncle Ralph’s head or having another member of the family cut off on the left side of the shot. I can remember my mother getting her photographs back from the drug store and seeing just those types of shots. In fact, I can go through all of the pictures that I have from my childhood and point out not only the people in them but who the culprit was that shot them. My Grandfather was an amateur photographer and he new all the tricks like composition and lighting and you could guarantee that aunt Gert wouldn’t have a tree branch growing out of her head.

Photography is one of those activities that falls into more than one category at any one time. From it’s initial inception, it has been hard to quantify. The “Camera Obscura”¬†or Darkened Chamber””, has been around for centuries and can be traced back to Ancient Greece, Rome and even China. Used by French and Italian painters of the Renaissance to quickly sketch out a painting and achieving a correct perspective. It was basically just a parlor trick until British inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot began playing with ways to “capture” the image. At the same time in France, Joseph Nicephore Niepce was working on a different process but to the same end. Because of his partnership with Louis Daguerre the process would become known as the Daguerreotype. When both of these process became public a whole new industry was born. Over night “Professional” photographers began setting up shop. At this point, photography as a hobby was only for the very rich. It wasn’t until George Eastman developed the Kodak camera for the masses that photography became an “Every Man” activity.

“I’m a Photographer”

Photography is the only “profession” I know of where anyone can buy a camera and instantly become a “Photographer”. I couldn’t buy a concert grand piano and instantly become a concert pianist. Or, just buy getting my hands on a scalpel, become a brain surgeon. I could go on listing a whole slew of “professions” but that would get to be a little tiring, you get my point, I hope.

A few cameras

The mere act of owning a camera does not make one a photographer, just an owner of a camera. Some people spend years going to school to be a “photographer” and even after all the time and money spent, are no farther along than when they first started. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have been doing this a long time and I have seen thousands of photos in different formats from contact sheets to digital images and I know what it takes to “make” a great photograph, not that I always do either. Some times it takes me a couple hundred shots to make one good photograph and that is after hours even days of shooting. Ask any real Pro photographer and they will tell you the same thing.

“Behind the Lines”

In these times of people losing jobs and the unemployment rate rising I am seeing more and more people grabbing that camera they bought for vacation shots and going out trying to make a living as a photographer. I applaud their gumption but even in the best of times photography is a cut throat business. With the advent of Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, Flicker and the myriad of those being added each day along with every phone having a camera it is getting harder for photographers to get the notice they deserve because of the glut of images out there. There is a difference between a pro photographer who has been honing their craft over many years and someone who just happens to have access to a camera. You can tell the difference in the way that the picture has been crafter or the subject has been posed and it comes across in that photo album that the bride has on her coffee table. The term “Caveat Emptor”, “Let the buyer beware” is appropriate when it comes time to hire a photographer to shoot your wedding or portraits of your family.

Portraits

Social Networking has made me a better photorapher.

Not, or maybe, it’s hard to say. I seem to be spending more time on the social sites trying to keep up on things than actually shooting. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been productive, it has, but I would rather spend my time shooting.

In the past couple of months since starting on this SMM (Social Media Marketing) kick, I have found a bunch of outstanding photographers that share the same vision and ideas that I have. For years I felt I was alone in what I was doing with my photography. Every once in a while, I would happen upon a photographer in a magazine that was shooting something crazy like “Urban Oasis” and I would be amazed at their take on it. Now, It seems that I am being inundated with photographers doing the same kinds of things that I like.

There is a yin and yang to this tho. On one side is the yin, the negative, that being some of the most awesome work by some very talented photographers. I get ill viewing their work because it is so much better than anything that I have done, so much so that it takes the wind from my sails.

The yang being that I get inspired to do better than I have in the past and I spend more time looking for better photographic opportunities. I feel that my photography has improved but that is a subjective point of view and is left to the viewer to decide if my work has merit.

Social Media may not be making me a better photographer but it has given me the impetus to do better and it is showing me different ways to shot, I just have to pull myself away from the computer and my phone to shot more.