There are as many approaches to photography as there are photographers. Some are top of the chain hunters with all the gear, going up mountains to get that special image. Some are machine gunners, shooting everything in sight, hoping to at least hit the target once. Some are scavengers, going out to know where people have already taken great shots, and just hope they can get something too. Others are fishermen.
And, of course, I identify as a fisherman. Now, in a time, long, long ago, before I tried to reboot a semblance of a musical career, I used to go fishing. I wasn’t a serious fisherman and didn’t have all the kit, but I had a couple of rods and knew what I could get put of them despite being a complete beginner. I wasn’t really bothered about getting a fish from the river, to out of the river, and onto a dinner plate. Even though it was an obvious bonus. It was about being outside. It was hearing the sound of the river as it was, about hearing the birdsong and about sharing something with my son. It was like a sort of mediation. You become so aware of every sensation, and it brought me so much peace.
I was far from being an expert, and getting up at the crack of dawn to go to a specofic spot just wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t chuck in a grenade to get everything out of the river. Maybe I was a scavenger, without having the vain hope that they seem to have. I think it was my patience and gratitude for every fish that did it fr me. No instant gratification…
Could this apply to my photography? Possibly. Am I that hunter that will climb mountains to get that one shot? Well it has happened, but only because there was a funicular. Or because I was in Paris and knew that I was bound to get something on film. Or even in Nantes.
I have a certain amount of gear and a certain number of cameras. I know how each piece of kit works and what I can get out of them. But the most important thing is being out of the house. It’s about being to detatch oneself from the scene and becoming an observer who is conscious of what is going on around you. If you get that prize-winning photo, then great, and if you don’t, then great too. Just having a pit stop to have cake, and a nice cup of tea makes everything worthwhile.
When I used to suffer from anxiety, that fact of being able to detatch from a scene and become a mere observer did me the world of good. I was no longer in constant flight or fight mode. With my 40 years of this photo lark, I have managed to take one some of the basics and still manage to get a not too shabby hit rate. It’s about doing and not thinking. Yes, of course you think about your composition and your settings, but just taking everything in is far more important.
Some people have sport. Some have painting. Some have a multitude of creative pursuits that allow them to express themselves. It would appear that mine is exploring the world around me with a camera. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t. The mere act of being out there exploring and letting the images present themselves to you can be enough.