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  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

Photography As Part Of Daily Life

Sean Reid

Moderator
Chris Kresser recently posted some interesting questions and comments about integrating photography with one's daily life.

Chris wrote:
"I just read the Ben Lifson essay "Everything is Subject and Kicking Off Your Shoes". It resonated with me deeply, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement all the way through. Early in the essay he says:

Quote from Ben Lifson:
"Our busy, time-consuming and important careers and our important family commitments often make us photograph only intermittently, when we can find time and as subject matter either comes our way or, as is often the case, we travel to it, sometimes quite far. But this is not the best road to good pictures and our growth as picture makers."
This is becoming more and more true for me. I have little time these days for "dedicated photography", and likely will not for the next 2-3 years due to work and other commitments. The result so far has been that I've stopped making photographs. And that's not good.

Ben's essay inspired me to come up with some project ideas that are more closely integrated with my daily life. Rather than choosing subject matter that requires me to travel to a location away from home, which I can't seem to find time for now (even if it's in the same town!), perhaps I should focus more on what is right there in front of me every day."

and also:

"I just haven't figured out how to do it yet in a satisfying way. I find that I produce much better work and get more satisfaction out of working within a project-based context. So I suppose what I need to do is come up with some ideas for projects that involve subject matter at home, at work, or on the way back and forth between the two."

Let's continue that discussion in this thread.
 

Steve Leenhouts

New member
Sean and Chris,
Taking pictures of what one witnesses in life, as it proceeds in its ordinariness, has been the single most important releasing change to happen to me over the past several years. Nearly all of my most recent pictures have been taken through the open window of a taxi going to and from work.
Steve
 

philip rigby

New member
The reasons for it are too lengthy to relate here, but over the past six weeks or so, l have found that l have been confined to my home for most of every day. Yet, l have managed to take hundreds of photographs of every day life going on in my rear garden. In bird watching terms, even the most dull " little brown jobby " has been a joy in my efforts to capture his/her little daily antics.

It's going on all around you, if only you make the time to look and appreciate.


philip
 

janet Smith

pro member
It's going on all around you, if only you make the time to look and appreciate.philip
I couldn't agree more, I lead a very busy life, all the usual commitments etc etc etc!

So for me it was really important to find a subject that was close to home, I love flowers & gardening, so the natural thing was to photogrpah flowers in my garden when I'm at home....For the last year I have photographed flowers from my garden and have seen a huge progression in the standard of my work, the discipline of getting out there every day, no matter what the weather, has definitely paid dividends...
 

peterthompson

New member
The reasons for it are too lengthy to relate here, but over the past six weeks or so, l have found that l have been confined to my home for most of every day. Yet, l have managed to take hundreds of photographs of every day life going on in my rear garden. In bird watching terms, even the most dull " little brown jobby " has been a joy in my efforts to capture his/her little daily antics.

It's going on all around you, if only you make the time to look and appreciate.


philip
Three years ago I retired from my work in order to be full-time caregiver to my wife, who has MS. I had already staked out the ordinary, the mundane, the accidental as my main interests, but the past years have put me to the test. I have to admit that there are times when it seems there is nothing left to see in this restricted environment, but that is a state of mind, not a reality. There is always enough to challenge your own limitations, no matter where you might be standing...

Peter T
 

Sean Reid

Moderator
The reasons for it are too lengthy to relate here, but over the past six weeks or so, l have found that l have been confined to my home for most of every day. Yet, l have managed to take hundreds of photographs of every day life going on in my rear garden. In bird watching terms, even the most dull " little brown jobby " has been a joy in my efforts to capture his/her little daily antics.

It's going on all around you, if only you make the time to look and appreciate.


philip
I'd like to see those too. And you might someday want to look at the work Paul Strand did of the same (nominal) subject. The book, if I recall, is "In My Garden" but I'll check. Strand, of course, was one of the great photographers of the 20th Century.

Cheers,

Sean
 

Jeff Jacques

New member
Daily life through a lens

Last year I bought an M8 and started to carry it to work every day.
My attempts to take a walking lunch didn't work, as folks routinely schedule meetings or conference calls during the lunch hour, but I'd strive to take no less than 10 photos between Penn station and the office and the same again on my return.
I found that having a "number" I'd promised myself made me more thoughtful of the walk and of things happening around me.
More recently I've started carrying a Sigma DP-1, with the same parameters.
Like Steve I too have been taking photographs from the back of Taxi's, but I find the keeper rate tends to be low. I 'm curious to hear what Steve's experience has been.
Cheers
Jeff
 

Steve Leenhouts

New member
Hi Jeff,
My keeper rate is very low, if you want to think of it that way. I make a very large number of pictures every week, sometimes near 1000. Jpegs only. I am on the learning curve, and I approach my shooting through the taxi window as musicians would doing their scales. Practice, practice! -technique. That's where I am at the moment. (Lunch times are also difficult for me to find the time.] We both are following one of the golden rules: camera always with you; ideally in the hand.
Thanks,
Steve
 

Jeff Jacques

New member
Not through a Taxi

Last night as we were leaving the Tribeca film festival.
DP-1, monochrome conversion in Aperture 2.1.
Just sharing.
 

philip rigby

New member
OK, so here with have a couple of my earlier efforts :


/Users/parigby/Desktop/DSC_0074.jpg

/Users/parigby/Desktop/DSC_0093.jpg
 

Cem_Usakligil

Well-known member
OK, so that doesn't work - maybe someone will tell me how to import images to the site :)


philip
Hi Philip,

Here in OPF, we don't offer hosting of pictures. I know some forums do and we are looking into this but right now, one has to find a host to upload one's pictures first. This might be a free host such as flickr, or a paid one such as smugmug or pbase. Anyway, I assume you get the idea. Once the pictures have their own URL, then you can embed them in your post by using the IMG tags.
It looks like this:

HTML:
[IMG]http://www.whatever.com/yourpic.jpg[/IMG]
Hope this helps, if not please ask :).
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Philip,

We are planning to be able to host all the posted pictures. For now linking to your picture on the WWW is how we do it here. There are many free services.

Thanks for posting.

Asher
 

Nolan Sinclair

New member
This is a really interesting thread. I'll be keeping my eyes on this one.

Many of my favorite pictures I've made have been done so while in the middle of something else.

I might take the scenic route when going to the store, walk around outside while I'm waiting for my pizza or walk to the next subway station over, but I find I'm rarely leaving the house with the intent to go somewhere solely to make pictures. It's probably because I'm pretty green, but when I have gone somewhere with the sole intent of making pictures, I feel rudderless and like I'm trying too hard.

On the other hand, when I'm in the middle of something, I either have to be somewhere or my wife is telling me to hurry up, so my choices are limited, and it feels liberating.

I think the biggest asset with everyday photography is the familiarity that accompanies it. You have the opportunity to make multiple shots of the same subject, then go back the next day and try again.


M8 with CV 35mm f/2.5

I probably took sixty pictures of that display over the course of six months. I knew there was a photo to be had there and I like to think I got it.

When I made this picture, the wife was patiently shivering in wind. I think we were going for lunch.


M8 with CV 35mm f/2.5

I went to visit my friends at the fight club on Friday. I arrived near the end of class, and then wife called, telling me I had to be somewhere in twenty minutes. The guys would be sparring for another ten minutes or so. So I sat on the apron and watched my buddy spar for a while and chose my shots carefully.

Again, I think I got a shot I was aiming for. I was on time and the wife was happy.

Contrast this with the time my instructor invited me to shoot during the taping of an episode for a reality show. I wasn't shooting for the TV show, he just invited me because he knows I like photography and he's a nice guy.

I got nothing.

I felt awkward. Everything felt unfamiliar and being that I don't speak Korean and no one spoke English, I had no idea how long we were going to be there for or who for that matter was going to be competing. Needless to say, I wasn't happy with those pictures.

I'd probably be a terrible photojournalist.

After a lot of failure with the gone-photographin' approach, I've more or less stuck to shooting things that are convenient and nearby, and as the days go by, I'm really surprised how the mundane becomes interesting once you look it with the right eyes.

I look forward to seeing more everyday photos here.
 

Alvin Chuan

New member
In Singapore where I live is a very fast pace society. For me every day is a busy day keeping to meet the deadline. I am an Engineer by profession and I have no formal training in photography but photography is my hobby and also part of my daily life. Going throught the photos later some how give me a better understanding of the place where I live.

Here is some typical heartland scene of Singapore I like to share.





Regards
 

Wouter Brandsma

New member
Excellent work Nolan and Alvin. I feel and think it is a challenge to photograph the things that are ordinary to us. For instance, I am no fan of Zoo photography, but today I made some that I will keep.


Photographed Primates - Ricoh GX100, f4.3, 1/60 sec, ISO 100, -0.7 EV


Primate Shadow - Ricoh GX100, f4.3, 1/1400 sec, ISO 100, -0.7 EV
 

peterthompson

New member
After a lot of failure with the gone-photographin' approach, I've more or less stuck to shooting things that are convenient and nearby, and as the days go by, I'm really surprised how the mundane becomes interesting once you look it with the right eyes.

I look forward to seeing more everyday photos here.
About 1/3 of the way to my mailbox, a hole opens up in the tree cover. I like to think that I own the photo rights to that airspace...



Title: Urizen
Canon 10D, 28-70 @ 28mm;1/800s f/2.8 ISO100

This is another try in this dumb guy's attempt to post a picture...

Peter T.
 
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Steve Leenhouts

New member
Here are a couple of studies in color, from daily life in Jakarta.


Seven Men. 28mm equivalent


Passing Man. 28mm equivalent

Thanks, Steve
 

Chris Kresser

New member
Hi,

I was the the OP, but somehow I wasn't subscribed to email notifications! Thanks to everyone for contributing your comments on this topic. I find that I am increasingly fascinated by photographing subject matter that is present in my daily life. In fact, I have actually become uninterested in photographing much else.

Most of the photographers I admire are those that reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary. The "side effect" of seeing the world from this perspective is that we are always surrounded by beauty and wonder, wherever we are.

For this one, all I did was swivel my chair. Didn't even get up. :)

 

Ron Morse

New member
OPF has a great bunch of very talented people and I'm sure many of our new members are also.

When there are changes their are always bumps in the road but things usually have a way of smoothing out.

So with that said here my meager attempt at contribution. Obviously this is not my type of photography.

Maxwell and I had just got back from our morning 2 mile walk. Maxi was very interested in something. I added some vignetting although it made Maxi's butt dark.

40D
CZJ flektogon 35mm f/2.4
 
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Rachel Foster

New member
Almost everything I shoot is from "everyday life." It's caused a new awareness and appreciation of my surroundings.

Just about an hour ago, I was leaving a friend's house when I was struck by the weeds across the street. Technically, this photo has some problems, and it isn't quite what I saw, but this is an example of the sort of thing that captivates me.

 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Thanks Ron!

This is a fine dog. I wonder what he's thinking. That file is pretty robust. So you will get a good print! Love the 35mm flektogon. This is a bargain for Canon users!

Asher
 
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Ron Morse

New member
Thanks Asher.

These lenses are really nice if you can live with manual focus. This picture was not sharpened at all, although I would have sharpened it if it was in color. I thought softer would seem more natural in black and white, but what do I know.
 
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