Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.
That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever. [#]
The phrase was taken from a quote by the 17th century Cardinal de Retz, who stated, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.”
Do you feel like the quality of your photography falls short of where you want it to be? Don’t worry: every creative goes through a period in their growth in which there’s a disappointing gap between their “taste” and their work. Here’s an inspiring video in which Ira Glass encourages people going through this to push through and to not give up.
If you think you can’t compete as a photographer because you’re past a certain age, think again. Here’s a fantastic quote by National Geographic Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns from an interview he gave back in 2005:
There are a lot of exciting photographers out there. Our new director of photography, David Griffin, and assistant director Susan Smith are making a much stronger push than we have in the past to identify young, emerging talent. They’re not necessarily age-specific either. Often photographers start to find their traction in their 50s.
Johns also says that photography’s transition to digital has also helped photographers develop more quality; getting feedback is easier than ever, and many of the prohibitive costs are no more.
Photography enthusiast and retired physicist Milo Shott of Oxford, England has found a way use his love for cameras to raise boatloads of money for the poverty-fighting charity Oxfam: camera repair. 11 years ago, Shott noticed some workers at an Oxfam store throwing out an old piece of camera equipment. After saving it from the trash, he fixed it up and helped the store sell it for £270.
Since then, Shott has helped the charity repair old camera gear and sell it off at events held four times a year — events so popular that long lines form and ~$5,000 is raised in a week. In all, Shoot has helped the charity raise more than £120,000 (~$192,000) since he started.
Australian photographer Liam McHenry tells the inspiring story of an encounter he had with a confrontational teenager when doing street photography. What started out as a situation spiraling out of control instantly changed when his subject suddenly “understood” his photography. McHenry says that the big revelation he had through the experience was: “it’s never just a photo.”
Here’s an inspiring and educational video in which Marc Silber sits down to chat with photographer Michael Zagaris — a man who has had a career as the official shooter for both rock bands (e.g. Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin) and sports teams (e.g. San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A’s).
Here’s an inspiring video in which photographer and speaker Dewitt Jones talks about how he looks for “right answers” when he was doing assignments for National Geographic. Rather than specific tips or techniques, he mostly talks about high level ideas while showing off some of his stunning photographs.
We love sharing about photography-related movies that you might want to add to your “films to watch” list, and today we have a great one: Marwencol. It’s a documentary about Mark Hogancamp, a man who was beaten nearly to death back in 2000 outside a bar (leaving him little memory of his previous life), and how he turned to photographing action figures in a miniature world as a form of “art therapy”. The photographs — which you can browse here — are incredible in their realism and creativity, and attracted the attention of magazines and art galleries.
Photojournalist João Silva lost his legs to a land mine in Afghanistan at the end of last year, but — after months of intense rehabilitation — returned to work in July, landing a photo on the front page of the New York Times. On August 2nd, Silva visited the Bronx Documentary Center and gave a talk on his thoughts and experiences. Read more…
Here’s a pretty inspiring video that poses a simple question: “how bad do you want it”? It’s from motivational speaker Eric Thomas’ “Secrets to Success” talk, meant to help people accomplish their goals, whether it’s “academically, financially, relationally”, etc… Definitely applicable to those passionate about improving their photography as well.