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"I Can't" -- A Photographer's Phrase From Hell!

janet Smith

pro member
some of my pictures are actually pretty good. OTOH, right now I dislike all of them equally and I just don't see the point in all this anymore
Hi Cem

If I had a £ for every time I've felt like this I'd be a millionaire! so welcome to the club.....

We all suffer from depleted Mojo's every now and then, the endess hours processing images, looking for the one that comes somewhere near the vision/idea that we had when we took it, the trick is to keep going. Photography is an absolute passion for me as I know it is for you and so many others here at OPF, and yes it is definitely worth carrying on when you get the one that jumps off the screen at you!! Sometimes I find that I'm disappointed with photographs when I first look at the them, but with the benfit of a little time between the taking of them and then coming back to them later I frequently wonder why I was disappointed! such is life.....

I find that going for a walk without my camera helps, sometimes I curse not having it with me, but it makes a nice change to look at the world without looking through a lens, helps get you back in touch with "the bigger picture" and helps me get back to looking through the lens with fresh eyes.

Take a rest Cem, do something different for a little while, then come back renewed.....

BTW I've just been published in the Daily Telegraph helps to make all the hours of hard work seem worthwhile. Hope this has been a little encouragement to you, and yes I'd love to see some more of your shots of America and Paris..... (in a while)
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In my current state of mind, this sounds to me as if you are saying that the pictures I am supposed to have taken are merely snaps. "Gathering intelligence" and "memory aid" are pretty much the clues which give it away.
Hi Cem,

I never thought of "snaps", I know you too well for that. What concerns me is that you would make a set of rulers to measure yourself against that are too stringent. Taking photographs and traveling with one's family is a huge amount of complications of scheduling, feeding, organization and stamina. The sheer scale of your shooting schedule is mind blowing! It's hard enough to focus on a project going to just one location. We only expect 10% wonderful and 1% fantastic. At the end of a month, this number will no doubt decrease. Then one will go back and realize that in the sleepers were the real pictures we were looking for all the time.

I say one should just "gather intelligence" and create a "memory aid" since that is the rich library you will draw on when you go back to make your art. Meanwhile, all the intensities will have to subside. Then you will revisit one day of pictures one weekend and make a selection to show your family. Eventually you will use this to find the art you have already made.

One can often just take pictures, the art will be found at home.

I do not pretend that I strive towards art in all my pictures but in some, I actually do. I don't want to sound arrogant but some of my pictures are actually pretty good. OTOH, right now I dislike all of them equally and I just don't see the point in all this anymore.


Thanks for the kind offer, perhaps I'll accept it when I come off of this mood.
Cem,

In the coming week or so, select a few you like and share them! I know for sure you have many, many more fine pictures that you have not as yet identified..

Asher
 

Ken Tanaka

pro member
My "mojo" is not flowing right now, full stop. ... As Ken told me in the other thread, dropping my camera was kind of “Nature's way of telling me that the world has reached its limit of Paris photos for this century”.

So I am deeply in a motivational crisis right now you could say. I didn’t even have the energy and the wish to process my tour and show some here yet :-(.
Geez, Cem, I did not intend to contribute to kicking your plug out of the socket with my remark.

Photography is principally a state of mind and only occasionally and incidentally a matter of fact.

Event photographers are propelled by non-negotiable time lines (and the need to earn income). Commercial photographers are propelled by their assignments (and the need to ear income). Amateur photographers (which I assume you to be?) must be propelled by their skulls' contents. Their most common, and frankly the dullest, approach is to photograph whatever is in front of their faces and then to devote most of their energies to changing the scene in front of their faces. But that gets expensive. When the gas, the money, or the destinations are depleted the lens goes to sleep.

It's just possible that photography's not really your long-term cup of tea. You are not required to take pictures to be a good person. But before you abandon ship try giving your passport a rest and assign yourself a small project close to home. Something small, something easily accessible to you, something perhaps normally unseen or unnoticed. Set your goal to collect images (i.e. create a "body of work") for a self-published book and give yourself a completion deadline (Dec 31?). You may be surprised at just how much energy you get from such a project. If you're like me, you may never complete this first project because it's lead you to five others.
 

Cem_Usakligil

Well-known member
Thanks for the excellent advice

Geez, Cem, I did not intend to contribute to kicking your plug out of the socket with my remark...
Hi Ken,

Don't worry, you did not contribute in a negative way, on the contrary! I repeated your quote since it reflected precisely my state of mind even before then.

...Event photographers are propelled by non-negotiable time lines (and the need to earn income). Commercial photographers are propelled by their assignments (and the need to ear income). Amateur photographers (which I assume you to be?) must be propelled by their skulls' contents. Their most common, and frankly the dullest, approach is to photograph whatever is in front of their faces and then to devote most of their energies to changing the scene in front of their faces. But that gets expensive. When the gas, the money, or the destinations are depleted the lens goes to sleep....
You assume correct. Although I do not consider myself to be the kind of amateur who is event/location driven. Maybe I show way too little of work here, which creates the impression that I only take snaps during holidays.

.....It's just possible that photography's not really your long-term cup of tea. You are not required to take pictures to be a good person. But before you abandon ship try giving your passport a rest and assign yourself a small project close to home. Something small, something easily accessible to you, something perhaps normally unseen or unnoticed. Set your goal to collect images (i.e. create a "body of work") for a self-published book and give yourself a completion deadline (Dec 31?). You may be surprised at just how much energy you get from such a project. If you're like me, you may never complete this first project because it's lead you to five others.
Ken I have to say that this has really hurt, ouch! If you had known that I am a photographer for more than 38 years now and how dedicated I am to it, you'd also understand why it hurts so much. And I am no way about to abondon ship, I am just going through a phase, that's all. But I like your idea for a self set project, I'll think about it.

Please know that I appreciate your invaluable advice and opinion a lot and I am not angry/bitter at all :).

Cheers,
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Mon cher Cem
doubt.
doubt, doubt
doubt, doubt, doubt, doubt etc. incremental!

Imho, the one who as never felt doubt is not human! What ever you do, your job or a passion, needs know how, skills, experience, durability, stubborness, work and many more PLUS DOUBTS!

Doubt is what help us to progress, not to feel happy, belly full…

Doubt is needed!

Everytime, yes you read well, everytime I fly or drive for an assignement, I doubt of myself.

Will I be able to shoot this, will my client be happy? Will I choose the right settings?

Wether it is MF or DSLR, that's all the same, we do use extremely sophisticated little boxes and pieces of glass to bring back a memory. The memory of the light engraving our subject.
This is the beauty of our work.
Wether it is amateur or professional doesn't change the rules in our heart: bringing back the images we were seeking.

Doubt is not a sign to go for a rest, on the contrary! Doubt is part of the creative process.
Doubt is necessary. It is one of our arms to be able to move further…
Use that arm! Move yourself from that new starting point! that's THE challenge you (or your brain) needs to be even better photographer next time. Next time, Bordeaux?

Truly, frankly, honestly said…,-) undoubtly!
 

Cem_Usakligil

Well-known member
Hi Ken,

Don't worry, you did not contribute in a negative way, on the contrary! I repeated your quote since it reflected precisely my state of mind even before then.

.....

Please know that I appreciate your invaluable advice and opinion a lot and I am not angry/bitter at all :)....
Hi Ken,

To be even more explicit about this, by challenging my long term committment, I think you have given me the much needed proverbial kick in my backside to shake me out of it.

Thanks!
 

Cem_Usakligil

Well-known member
....Imho, the one who as never felt doubt is not human! What ever you do, your job or a passion, needs know how, skills, experience, durability, stubborness, work and many more PLUS DOUBTS!

Doubt is what help us to progress, not to feel happy, belly full…

Doubt is needed!
....
Doubt is not a sign to go for a rest, on the contrary! Doubt is part of the creative process.
Doubt is necessary. It is one of our arms to be able to move further…

Use that arm! Move yourself from that new starting point! that's THE challenge you (or your brain) needs to be even better photographer next time. Next time, Bordeaux?

Truly, frankly, honestly said…,-) undoubtly!
Hi Nicolas mon ami,

As usual, you are absolutely correct, no doubt about it. Your opennes and the associated vulnerability (which is not to be confused with weakness since it isn't) are to be commended. They are excellent virtues and they make you what you are.

So yes, next time Bordeaux indeed!

Cheers,
 

Cem_Usakligil

Well-known member
... BTW I've just been published in the Daily Telegraph helps to make all the hours of hard work seem worthwhile. Hope this has been a little encouragement to you, and yes I'd love to see some more of your shots of America and Paris..... (in a while)
Hi Jan,

Terribly sorry, I must have missed this earlier. This is rather excellent news, what kind of photo of yours has made its way to the DT? Show us please :))))

Cheers,
 

janet Smith

pro member
Hi Cem

Thank you Cem, it was just a shot of a buddleia which went in the gardening supplement of the Telegraph, which is one of the better paper's here. I've sold loads more, but this is the first one that I've known the destination of, I'll hopefully be getting a copy of the paper, it was published on the 9th August (I didn't know then!!) I've also recently had a travel brochure cover, so it's worthwhile persisting isn't it......

I'll post the buddleia shot when I retrieve it from my archive.

Have a lovely day......
 

Marcel Walker

pro member
Gratitude

Thank you Michael for words and your willingness to share what so many of us have felt or do feel at one time or another.
Marcel
 

Michael Brown

New member
Well, I am certainly happy to see that this post may have caused others to think not only about their photography, but maybe a bit more about themselves. It also seems that it has opened up some conversation leading into other directions.
And, ..... that is a good thing!

Take care everyone,
Michael Brown
 

Sandra Jones

New member
Ok, OK, OK...I have to go out to the library now. I guess I'll take my camera with me. Sheesh! ;)

Great thread...just what I needed. :)
 

Matthew Bryan

New member
old thread but it was new to me and the sentiment is definitely worth refreshing to everyone.

Last night I received a quick comment from my photographer uncle about "get out there and shoot something" - it was in response to me stating that I can't wait for spring so that I can take pictures.

Coupled with your post, I'm going to go do exactly that. Not now.. I'm at work but first thing saturday will be my goal.

Thank you for the inspiration.
 

Matthew Bryan

New member
I agree with Nicolas (pick a subject and explore), and I also understand your predicament. For my free work, I occasionaly follow the path of selecting a single fixed focal length, and touring a site. Being restricted to a single focal length requires to "zoom with your feet" for perspective and composition. The focal length will dictate the type of image (e.g. wide angle --> foreground emphasis in a given context, or Tele --> feature isolation or apparent flattening of perspective). That will force a different look, and develop/strengthen your instinct for perspective choices.

Bart
That is a great idea - it would really push me to "see" creatively if I'm limited to what I can capture - I'll keep that in mind.

Thanks for the idea!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Last night I received a quick comment from my photographer uncle about "get out there and shoot something" - it was in response to me stating that I can't wait for spring so that I can take pictures.

Your uncle is so right, Matthew. I myself have to fight conditions that are totally artificial that we create as barriers to our progress.

Really it's a simple as walking out of the house with the lightest camera and lens you have. It's so refreshing and surprising - all the subjects one can find. I'm not saying that any of them will be worth keeping but for sure it will get the juices going and this scouting also will provide powerful inspiration for a few select subjects that one discovers around the corner.

I have been playing around with different lenses for such scouting work. 50 mm is a good all round focal length and the Ricoh GXR with an APS C size sensor and a sharp macro lens is a great choice.

However a 24 mm focal length may be a better alternative as one can grab a lot more in a moment's snap for study at home. This I call "exploring and sketching" and it can often revitalize a loss of focus or allow one to escape from hyper-focus.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
For 2011, reread this if you are having a block!

"I can't?", "Bob the Builder™" says, Yes we can!"

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

50 mm is a good all round focal length and the Ricoh GXR with an APS C size sensor and a sharp macro lens is a great choice.
I guess you are saying that a full-frame 35-mm equivalent focal length of about 76 mm is a good all-around choice.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi, Asher,


I guess you are saying that a full-frame 35-mm equivalent focal length of about 76 mm is a good all-around choice.

Best regards,

Doug
Doug, the focal length does of course alter the depth of field but the nominal "focal length", (yes you do know what I mean without further definition), being the same, both "50mm" lenses will give the same view from the same position. Perspective will then be the same and that counts for me more than DOF. The latter can be corrected easily anyway.

However, having one 35mm or 45mm will be as good for some people who like that positioning from their favorite scenes. Those were the focal lengths of most Leica photographers doing street work. The 50 mm lens happens to be perfect for events such as weddings where it's just right for a round table of ten people.

With a 50 mm GXR or on a full frame camera, there are enough pixels to crop and print many good images for various purposes after one zooms with one's feet. A zoom is really only needed in absolute terms in a cramped studio space where there are single heads or full lengths or group portraits. Otherwise, a 50 mm is all one needs for most fun.

With a 50 mm lens, one can go wide simply by stitching overlapping frames and one gets the very best resolution. I'd recommend anyone with hesitation about what to do, take the smallest lens, a 28 mm, 35mm or 50 mm and use just that for a month, shooting every day. After that, look for the treasures. It's amazing how many there will be as one learns to accommodate everything with just an "eye" with a fixed focal length.

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

Doug, the focal length does of course alter the depth of field but the nominal "focal length", (yes you do know what I mean without further definition) . . .
No, I'm, not sure I do.

Are you speaking of lenses that have a 35-mm full frame effective focal length of 50 mm on the camera on which they are used?

All setups would have the same field of view.

On a camera with the format size of the Ricoh with the A12 module, that would be a lens with an actual focal length of about 33.5 mm (not the lens that is on the A12 module).

Or are you speaking of lenses whose actual focal length is 50 mm?

Such lenses will give different fields of view on cameras of different format size.

Is it the field of view that a Ricoh A12 module gives that you are speaking of as desirable? To get that same field of view on a camera with a full-frame 35-mm format size, we would use a lens of focal length about 73.6 mm.

Best regards,

Doug
 

fahim mohammed

Well-known member
After having read this thread, a thought got me going. I am like that.

I counted all the people that had/have contributed to this thread, this thread of mine being the last for counting purposes.

I wrote the names of all the posters . Counted them. Number of times they had posted in this thread. Etc.
Ran it thru my Excel spreadsheet to calculate various statistics. I am a nerd. Interesting findings.

The majority of posters have not been seen here for a very long time since.

I formed my own conclusions. You form yours.

And yes, before I forget, it really does not matter what focal length lens you use. be it 35mm or 50mm
or its equivalent on a bicycle....use what your are comfortable with, and with what is available.

' Shoot, don't talk '. Eli Wallach ( spelling ? ) ( The Good, The Bad and The Ugly starring Clint Eastwood et al ).
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi, Asher,


No, I'm, not sure I do.

Are you speaking of lenses that have a 35-mm full frame effective focal length of 50 mm on the camera on which they are used?

All setups would have the same field of view.

On a camera with the format size of the Ricoh with the A12 module, that would be a lens with an actual focal length of about 33.5 mm (not the lens that is on the A12 module).
Correct, Actually a 33 mm lens Read a review here

What's important is the utility of the one simple lens as a therapy to the gear-driven photographer who get's stuck in a rut! Simplification solves so many issues. Any single lens from 28 mm through 85 mm will work. It so happens that the GXR is so good as it's lightweight and a great quality pocketable APS-C sized camera.

Asher
 
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