The truly excellent tom dinning writes on Lightstalking about the need to improve your photography by simplifying your images
In a complex world of action and vision it’s often difficult to separate the trees from the forest. In the early days of photography there was a tendency for photographers to emulate the painters or to use the photograph to assist the artist with his composition. The photograph was a means of recording the complexity of the world with all its detail. It was ‘real’. As photographers experimented with their new tool, they discovered that the photograph was also a way of simplifying the sometimes chaotic view before them. They could choose what would be ‘in the frame’ or not, eliminating the unnecessary and focusing on the important detail.
The photographers were finding another language; the language of photography.
But often there were no words to describe what they had achieved, so they drew on existing words to define their pictorial vocabulary.
‘Simplicity’ is one such term. It was used to give a sense of ‘oneness’ in which the image could stand on its own and tell the story, that the contents contained nothing more in detail than was required by the photographer to achieve his purpose. READ ALL OF THIS ARTICLE HERE
My great friend and superb photographer Jane Buekett understands simplicity, have a look at all her pictures here but as a taste a few..
all images ©Jane Buekett
Click Here: S is for Simplicity: How Simplicity Will Improve Your Photography
Art Photography, Masters of Photography, Photography Jane Buekett, Lightstalking, oxfordschoolofphotography.co.uk, Photograph, Photographer, photographersworkshop.co.uk, Photography, Simplicity, Tom Dinning
I found this on the excellent Tom Dinning blog
“On any Sunday I would find myself at my father’s side, standing before a masterpiece in some gallery. There was a ritual to follow. Silence at first. I watched him from knee height, absorbed in his fascination for the image in the frame. A Constable, Manet or Titian, it mattered not. The stance was the same. Hands by his side, head tilted slightly upwards, a barely distinguishable smile that I had learnt to recognise and only a son could see. A tall. proud man, well dressed, creased and cuffed trousers, shiny brown shoes, a soft open necked shirt, hair well groomed and glimmering in the dimmed light of the gallery.
After the silence came the questions.
What do you see?
I would explain. Trees, people, a woman and a child, a man lighting a fire, leaves on the ground.
Tell me what they are doing.
Resting. Preparing lunch.
Then a bit more silence.
Now I want you to be the artist.
I can’t paint.
You can see. See what time of day it is. See how close the woman is and how far away the man is. See the space between the trees, the colour of the leaves on the ground, the clothes they wear, the look on the faces. Here. Hold up your hand. Point to the child. Paint the eyes. I did as he suggested. Carefully I outlined the eye, then the other. I could see the sparkle. It blinked at me. There was always so much more to see.
Now smell the smoke from the fire. It’s gum smoke and it bites at the back of your throat and makes your eyes water. Smell the dust from the ground and the mould from the leaves. Smell the richness of the air with the odours of the Bush.
Can you feel the leaves under your feet? The heat of the morning falling to the ground. No breeze. The weight of the child on the mother’s lap. It’s you. Now feel the weight of life on the father’s shoulders. I never understood that bit for a long time.
What’s for breakfast? Can you taste it? Some milk, perhaps, for the baby. Porridge on the fire, honey from a hive. Tea.
WeetBix and cold milk.
He laughed quietly and nudged me affectionately.
Now listen. Carefully. A whip bird calling. Something moves in the trees. The clatter of sticks as the man builds the fire, crackling into life. Can you hear their heart beat. I could hear mine.
Silence. I could hear my father breathing. Other patrons pass by but don’t stop. A woman stares at us as if we are lost. We are, in a wilderness of wonder.
Its like a window, Dad.
Its the artists window. He wants you to see what he sees. Every time you look through his window you will see something new, a little more of the artist and what his world looks like to him. That’s a very special thing he does for you.
I wish I could paint.
Use your camera instead. Show people your world through your window. I can hear him say it now.
Will they see what I see?
You’ll have to show them how.”
Just a minute, no this is nothing to do with the LHC at Cerne. This article, by one of our favourite writers tom dinning, on the Lightstalking site is about the use of shutter speeds to stretch or capture time in the briefest moments. It is one of the things that photography allows you to do in ways that you can only conceptualise, because you can’t see it in life. Here is some of what Tom has to say
“One of the fundamental tools that a photographer has at his/her disposal is the ability to record time. This isn’t just the moment in time, or the ‘decisive moment’, as Cartier-Bresson called it, but the duration of the time interval as well. It’s a matter of when and how long We can not only get the sense that we are witnessing a precise moment in history but there is a passage of time, an event taking place that requires of the viewer, an understanding of progression; moving from one place to another, moving forward in time and space”….more
Photography, Photography Tutorial Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lightstalking, oxfordschoolofphotography.co.uk, Photograph, Photographer, photographersworkshop.co.uk, Photography, shutter speeds, time, Tom Dinning
Tom Dinning is a bit special, his blog is always interesting, he is not big on equipment but is huge on ideas. His photography is a way of talking to you, sometimes his posts are specific and sometimes, as with this, telling a story.
Many people struggle to know what to photograph, if you need a prod or poke to get you going then telling a story is a good start. Just going out with a camera and hoping a story will happen is a bit unrealistic. You have to think about your story before, maybe make notes of the areas you will need to photograph to convey your ideas and purpose. A story can be as simple as how to do something, I blogged about one photographer who made a picture essay on wine making, if you missed it have a look here.
Tom Dinning has taken a different approach he has remembered when he was 6 and how it felt to be taken to the city (Sydney) by his father and has photographed how it left a lasting impression. Always the success of Tom’s work is the way he makes it personal his pictures and essays are generally about his response and for that reason always enchanting and up close. Do have a look at this post on Tom’s blog site and make something personal of your own.
“Today I am six years old again. I am dressed in my best Sunday attire. Shoes polished, hair slicked back in the style of my father who guides me through the stations as we approach the city. ‘Three more stops,’ he assures me. I’m in no hurry. This journey will last all day and into the rest of my life.” …….more here
“People stand on street corners like they always did.”…..
“Back then there was little of the shine and gloss of a modern city. It was brass and sandstone, tiled walls and awnings that sheltered us from the Sun in the summer or the winter rain.”….
Photography, Travel Photography Arts, Blog, Documentary, oxfordschoolofphotography.co.uk, photo essay, Photograph, Photographer, Photographers, Photographers Workshop, photographersworkshop.co.uk, Photography, picture essay, Sydney, Techniques and Styles, Tom Dinning
More from Lightstalking and a tutorial by the much admired Tom Dinning, as Tom says “Like sunsets and the grand-kids, flowers are up there as a popular subject for photographing. They also suit close inspection with the macro lens, extension tubes or whatever you use for your close-up work.” He is so right I have to ban students in some classes from handing in flower shots just to ensure there is some variety; my current bans for the summer school I am teaching at Lady Margaret Hall College here in Oxford, are no flowers, no ducks and no pictures of friends goofing around.
Garden and Plant Photography, Light Stalking, Photography, Photography Tutorial Camera, close up, flower pictures, Lightstalking, Macro photography, Nikon, oxfordschoolofphotography.co.uk, Photograph, Photographers, Photographers Workshop, photographersworkshop.com, Photography, Tom Dinning
Tom is a photographer and teacher in Darwin, Australia, he always has something interesting to say, this is from his current post
“Over the past few days I have been out with the macro lens attached.
I’m a bit of an extremist when it comes to using this lens which, I might add, I like using for all sorts of things.
But its main function, I see, is to enable me to get close. So I do. Instead of selecting a subject and focussing in on it, I set the focus on the lens at ‘closest’ and move in with the camera until the images start to appear sharply before me.
This is when the world takes on a new and mysterious appeal and I start hunting for shapes, forms, lines, shadows, colour, texture, anything this tiny world has to offer me.
The frame becomes my window into this world. I find myself quite mesmerised by it all.” I definitely agree with the idea of not letting auto focus decide what your picture is going to be more here
I enjoy reading photography blogs that are more than just technical, I like the fact that photographers are engaged, interested, visual, aware people who look to see. Tom Dinning’s blog explores subject matter beyond the obvious and raises issues that are thought provoking. In this post he posits that using a camera in auto mode releases the photographer to see better. I am not sure I completely agree with this but I do agree with Tom that it is vitally important that people interested in photography learn to see. Read this post and see if you think he has a point. Here is a brief sample of the post
“My original attempts at teaching photography revolved around the technical stuff and darkroom processing. That was because I was young and believed in the power of ‘how’ and not ‘why’ we take photographs. Many years have passes and I am a better person for it.
As my grandson would say: ‘I’m over cameras’. Sure, I can afford the best but I find myself looking more through the lens than at it. I think my images have improved as a result. So, now when I teach I talk about concepts and composition instead of aperture and focal length. Most of the time I tell my students to set their camera’s on ‘auto’ and concentrate on what they want to see in the viewfinder.”