Category: Photography

The Photography Experience

The Photography Experience

One of the main activities of camera clubs is competitions. I’ve entered many of my own photos into competitions and judged a few too. This is about evaluating the finished and presented photo. What is a good photo? Many factors are considered, but it is mostly a subjective exercise… how I personally see and appreciate the photo.

But there’s a significant factor when evaluating a photograph which is missing from judging. That is the experience of the photographer leading up to this point… the journey made in reaching the destination. In competitions the emphasis is on the destination, the final print, with little regard for the journey, the purposes for which the photo was made, and the context and personal perspective within which it was made. But this, for me, is what photography is all about! It is the journey, the experience, the sheer joy of seeing and interacting with the world around me, framing images that express how I see and think and feel. Every photo is a self-portrait, an experience captured.

It’s great when at the end of the day’s journey I’ve got some photos which reflect something of that journey and an arrival at the desired destination. But if I’ve got nothing to show, who cares. The journey itself was photography.

Finally, a comment about what professional photographers and some entering competitions may share in common. Both may strive to please others, one for money and the other for honours certificates and awards!  I’m not accusing you of doing that, because I do it myself (especially as a professional photographer). But I’m rather offering a word of caution. Don’t sell your soul and your creative vision to the notion of making photos to please others, let alone competition judges! Instead, be yourself and take pleasure in the process of photography, irrespective of where it leads to.

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