Craft

by simonrleach

Is it about a trick or technique?

In the last month I have been running around various bits of the country to attend a number of events, and meet a good number of photographers, both students and established professionals. I can report that the experiences have left me positive and feeling inspired.

Okay, so the numbers at some of the events may not have been huge, but generally the feeling out there seems to be more positive, more energetic and passionate. It rubs off, making me feel more positive and I have a little more hope. It’s been a little while since a group of students, when asked if they felt there was any science in photography, answered “yes”. But it happened, and more than once, and by more than just one lone voice. Happy days!

For as you may have gathered from my brief ramblings thus far, I believe photography to be part craft, part technique and part ideas, brought together to form a communication solution, something personal, quite often able to transcend language barriers. Sure there are little magic tricks that can be deployed to substitute a little for craft and or technique and yes there are photographers who have been clever enough to exploit such tricks to sustain a career and good for them. But I maintain that to cover your butt in case of a lack of trick, or said trick not blinding a viewer as you’d hoped, it’s best if you can learn all the technical aspects you can and give yourself a bit of craft and creativity up your sleeve.

Has the rise in digital technology and software enhancement taken us away from valuing and understanding basic technique? Do we no longer follow the basic rules and principles that form the various creative processes? Do we no longer value the creative photographic process? Well the discuss about what value creativity might have may be a much one bigger than I can fit here. But I am heartened that just perhaps, in photography, the aperture is not dead, maybe Kelvin does still exist and even ISO might be more than a guessed setting when you can’t find Auto.

I suggest that photography is about exploiting laws of physics, of radiation and reflection of light; of exploiting scientific techniques, be they chemical or technological, to record and visualise a point in your creative journey, part of your story.

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