Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photographer's Block

It happens to all of us now and again, we tire of the subject matter we are shooting.  The cliche' flower and landscape just loose their substance after a while.  The problem isn't the subject matter, it's the perspective of the photographer.

It's a problem that everyone suffers from and the issue is deeply rooted in the influences around us.  We grow up thinking that the best pictures are those of vivid mountainous landscapes, a winding river, a glowing sunset or a garden full of colorful flowers.  The problem is we all don't have the luxury of having those national geographic 'esq subjects in our backyards and even when we do like everything else the interest fades after a while.

Perspective is key in solving 'Photographer's Block', our limitations are bound only by our imagination, not by the subject matter than stands before us.  For instance, we may take a stroll downtown through a city and take pictures of buildings, monuments, etc.  After a while we become bored with the location after all buildings and the like don't change very often.  So how do we bring fresh subject matter to a location that doesn't change ?  We change perspective: A Building shot in color, is now shot in black and white.  Instead of shooting the building as a whole we instead shoot the windows, the door, or the sign hanging above.  We shoot from  the round looking up, from the side, or an angle.  We shoot a patron smoking right outside the door, or slow down our shutter to capture the movement of traffic in the street.  We change, because sometimes our subjects do not.

Every time we visit a place, we need to look at things with a fresh perspective.  Our eyes and mind are programmed to look at things as a whole complete product, but it's the little things that truly make great subject matter.  When we focus in on a subject, we draw attention to it, we compel the audience and sometimes we tell a story.  When our subject is too complex, we sometime loose our audience to the visual overload being presented.  Do yourself a favor the next time you visit your proven, but worn hunting grounds - look at things you didn't look at before, attempt to shoot things that you would normally pass by - you will not only overcome 'Photographer's Block', but you will also become a better photographer. 

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