Shooting With “Abundance” or “Scarcity” – A Creative Choice

Shooting With “Abundance” or “Scarcity” – A Creative Choice

Do you shoot with an “abundance” mental approach? Or is your choice to shoot from a mental state of “scarcity”?

It makes a difference, you know. It makes a difference in how you approach your subject matter. It makes a difference in the way you see the world. It can have a dynamic effect on your imagery, and on the work that you do in post.

Scarcity breeds contempt and anger, while abundance nurtures awareness and action.

An example – and I will use the old me as the example, as I used to have a scarcity mentality. I looked at the glass of water and saw it as half empty. In fact, I wanted to know who stole the rest of the water that should have been in there so I could kick his ass.

Heading out for a shoot, I would think about what I didn’t have. What gear I wished I had that would of course make the shot way better. I didn’t have the time I needed to prepare, or do the proper scouting. I would find fault with every thing on the set, and be a taskmaster to create perfection. Anything less was not going to be good enough, and I didn’t achieve perfection – ever. No one who lacked as much as I did could ever come close to perfection.

(more…)

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
OT Sunday: Posts of Interest and Some Tunes for Fun

OT Sunday: Posts of Interest and Some Tunes for Fun

Occasionally we get a little off topic on a Sunday post. While this one is no exception, there are some very interesting posts from photographers I think you should check out. You may have missed them along the way, or not even known about the blogs, but they are posts I have kept in my bookmarks and will share a few with you.

Derek Shapton’s blog, Planet Shapton, is one of my must reads. This article from a while back asks some interesting questions and will also be of great interest to the emerging shooters who visit this blog.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself – do you want to be a photographer, or just look like one? If you’re in it strictly to create the impression of success, and can sustain the expense required to do so, then more power to you. Enjoy your fabulousness. Otherwise, swallow your pride, buy (or rent) that second-best lens, get in your high-mileage vehicle, and start knocking on doors.

The first time I saw Rodney Smith’s iconic photographs in the pages of Vogue and Bazaar, I was hooked. His blog is one of the best around, and this piece, talking about the value of a photograph, is not to be missed.

So dear photographers, others before you fought hard and long to give you a gift. And although everyone from corporations, to magazines, to art buyers try desperately to take it away from you, I implore you not to give it away.

Most of you are young and feel the need to work, and feel powerless against larger forces. You do not realize that when you get older, having the rights to your own work will be the best gift you have as a still photographer. It will help you when you need it most.

Robert Wright is a photographer in New York. He has a heck of a blog (when he gets to it, and I wish it was more often… heh). This is a very heartfelt post on the loss of the “snapshot”.

I miss the snapshot. I realize that what I am calling the snapshot and “snapshots” are very different things. Winogrand liked to point out when asked about his “snapshot aesthetic” that the garden variety snapshot was not very haphazard or uncontrolled, what his frames seemed to be suggesting, but actually a very staged and formalized genre of picture making, a subject in front of some object, owned or mastered by the person depicted. Like the photograph above. What I mean by snapshots refers to the vernacular use of snapshots and the lack of control and innocence that film allowed. When you can’t see what you are doing instantly, you can’t be that self conscious. Or styled or controlling. The snapshot was a memento, like found beach glass, and it is made with the speed of our reaction to life, instantaneously. And permanent. I think this is why digital compact cameras have never really done it for me, they can’t focus and shoot fast enough to matter in this way.

All good posts to get you thinking on this lovely March morning.

And while you are thinking about photography, you may want to also think about listening to some music.

Up first is Samuel Barber’s Adagio. One of my favorites.

Joe Lovano tears it up in this great live recording.

And I would have traded everything to be a Pip for a while. Just to hear Gladys everynight.

My wife has been writing some short stories. Here’s one she posted on her blog last week.

Matthew May’s blog on creativity is one that I check daily. This is an interesting post on checking the ego at the door.

As business artists, we must consciously move ourselves – and those within in our sphere of influence – beyond excessive self-interest. It is the enemy of business artistry. While this may be easier for some people than for others, it is never easy.

I hope you enjoy this post. See you soon.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
Does Culture Lead or Follow Photography? Hint – Look Up Ahead…

Does Culture Lead or Follow Photography? Hint – Look Up Ahead…

I think it leads it.

Simply and right out there.

This story on F-Stoppers has a lot of comments on it, most of them missing the point by a swing and a miss (sorry…).

[Shocking] Getty licenses Nick Laham Photographs Of NY Yankees Taken With iPhone

The story is about Getty licensing the images, and how this may seem odd given that the camera used was an iPhone.

“Shockingly” it didn’t surprise me.

For a lot of different reasons, but mostly it is because the culture leads photography. Photographers and their ‘pixel-peeping’ counterparts will have you believe that they set the direction of the art we call photography, but in reality it is the culture that leads the photographers.

Sometimes kicking and screaming like back in the day when Kodak came out with the first ‘Brownie” and like this article when some photographer breaks with ‘tradition’ of multi-thousand dollar pixel-pumpers to make images that someone would want to use.

Why is that surprising?

(more…)

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
“Average is Over” or Why Good Enough Sucks

“Average is Over” or Why Good Enough Sucks

 

Thomas L Friedman, in a post today at the New York Times, says that “average is over.”

And he is right.

It is.

You can see it in industry and media and design and art. You can see it in nearly every area of business.

Apple proved it. And Mercedes. And Braun. And Singapore Airlines. The list is pretty extensive.

To get to the top – the vaunted, rare, incredibly beautiful top – takes more than being average. In fact, simply being in any field at a sustainable level will take more than average. More than “good enough”.

Especially in commercial photography.

My bud Kirk thinks the whole photography thing may be totally over. At least for today.

Maybe he is right, but I am not buying it. I refuse to buy it.

(more…)

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
Preparing a Game Plan for 2012

Preparing a Game Plan for 2012

Looking to start the year off right?

Great. We all feel a little bit of a spring in the step and some empowerment at the first of the year.

So let’s get a game plan going… something not as fleshed out as a marketing plan, and not as whimpy as a resolution.

A plan. Simple, concise and doable.

1. Drop all toxic friends and relatives like a hot stone that has needles on it. We don’t need the negativity, guys. We truly don’t. Things are crazy and moving fast, and we need teammates, not opposing sides.

You don’t have to be rude, or aggressive… just stop hanging with them. If the conversation starts to roll around to ‘those damn craigslistshooters’, change the subject. Or leave… isn’t there some bacon on the stove you forgot?

Be unavailable for whine sessions. Yeah – it’s tough out there. For everyone, not just photographers, and frankly no one gives a shit how down and out we be feelin’.

Truth be told, there are a lot of busy photographers out there. Lots. And more are getting gigs every day. If you are not one of them, I suggest very strongly, that you start to look inward and work on changing your game, not sit around with other shooters who are also in a world of hurts, licking wounds and ‘remembering when’.

And stop talking ‘smack’ about the competition, other photographers you don’t even know, the creeps you do know, and yourself. No more put-downs of anyone, including yourself. It is toxic, unattractive and terrible for the Karma thing.

Stop it. Now.

(more…)

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
Feature Article in Rangefinder: July 2010

Feature Article in Rangefinder: July 2010

My friend Bill Millios wrote a nice article on me and the good folks at Rangefinder ran it in their prestigious July “Portait” issue.

Bill and I chatted down in Mexico during a workshop, and his piece accurately reflected my teaching beliefs, as well as other thoughts I had on the business.

It was great fun to do, and I am posting the article here for you. You can download the PDF here if you like: Bill Millios’ Article on Me in Rangefinder, July 2010

Rangefinder: Bill Millios, Writer: Don Giannatti Featured and Photography

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts