See the world through young eyes
In my post The Heart of the Matter, I spoke about trying to find the essence of a subject, and finding the best way to visually communicate that essence. It’s a process that doesn’t always happen quickly. Sometimes it takes repeated attempts before one can make sense of the emotional response a subject elicits. We need to train ourselves to see as we did when we were young and seeing the world for the first time. As we grow older, many of us lose our sense of wonder. We begin to take certain things for granted. A flower is just a flower… we pass it without much thought. But when we’re young, a flower is color, and shape, and texture. We notice every little detail… the curve of a petal, the pollen on a stamen. We need to see this way again to find the essence of our subject.
One we find that essence, the task then becomes finding a way to convey our vision to others. Occasionally this happens quickly, but more often than not it takes some work. It’s often a trial and error process. I frequently find myself returning to the same, or similar subjects over and over again. I shoot them from different angles, in differing light. Sometimes I’ll use a long focal length, other times I’ll get up close with a wide angle lens. The smallest of changes can often make the biggest difference. I returned to the cactus of my aforementioned post, and photographed it from a slightly different perspective, which gave me a much darker background. I feel as if this better accentuates the texture, color and arraignment of the spines, which is what drew me to this subject in the first place…
Don’t be a one-and-done photographer. Take some time to really see your subject. Look at it as if you’re seeing it for the first time. View it from all sides. Be patient. Find what it is that moves you, and then experiment until you create an image that truly speaks to you. Most likely, it will speak to others as well.