I had thought I learned this lesson a long time ago, but every once in a while I take a photograph that drums it into my head again. Good photography isn’t just taking pictures. It’s seeing things in a different way, and conveying that to the viewer. Sounds simple? Not really.
I’m drawn to photographing flowers. It’s cliché, it can be boring, and it certainly has been done before. I can’t help it! Flowers are vibrant and beautiful, just crying out to be photographed. It’s not something you can do passively, no idly snapping the shutter. I have to slow down and think about what I’m doing. Why am I photographing at this angle? Would it convey the delicacy and the structure better if I did it this way instead? Am I too close? As much as I love photographing details, sometimes the bigger picture just looks better.
Someone asked me once why I keep photographing close-ups at odd angles. He made me stop and think – was it my gear? Did I automatically chose this format because it’s easy?
I came to the conclusion that it’s really a part of my style. Having lived for many years wearing glasses and contacts that allowed me to see past my nose was a great influence. I think when all you can see is what’s directly in front of you, you tend to focus on the intricate details that everyone else misses. Today, my laser eye surgery means I can see normally, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing in a different way. I want to share that with people – my photographs say “Look at this intricate detail! It’s amazing and beautiful.” At least, I hope that’s what they say.