Friday, 28 January 2011

New Year, New beginning


Hi everyone. I apologise in advance,  this is not so much about photography....
It's all about me! 

Over the last year I have shot several events for clubs, and many portraits of friends, family and acquaintances.  I have done all of this for free. In fact 'for free' meant a significant outlay in materials and time for me. Those people have gone away with some fabulous shots, and I hope some great memories. In return I have learnt a lot, met some great people, and gathered some images that I have been able to use for my web site.  The purpose of all of this work was to have in place the groundwork for the launch of my new business venture.

I have become concerned that the offer of my time and services in return for the release of the rights to use an image has been misunderstood. The purpose of  what photographers call a 'time for prints' contract, is one that allows the photographer to offer their services  where their is a 'mutual benefit'. It allows the photographer to gain experience with new equipment or to try out different ideas, while the model has the chance of gaining images for their portfolio etc. It is not meant to be a subsidised portrait session.

It may seem to you, that all that is required to take a great portrait is a decent camera. Not true.  Technical competence, the ability to interact with your client, and the additional hardware makes this a very expensive career to start up in.  Also the image does not come 'out of the camera and onto the paper'. A lot of time is spent on the computer to make that image shine before you see it.

To be completely transparent, I have decided that with the start of the new tax year, Paul Clark Photography will be officially trading. This is a very exciting prospect for me, and we hope to have some super offers. Watch out also for full details and prices to appear on the web site very soon.

All that have followed my progress have given me great support and encouragement. I still want to arrange some walks and meetings as social gatherings for all of you, and any new friends we may make on the way.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Photography is an art form - Discuss


Happy New Year! This is my first blog of 2011. I have been kept busy over the past few weeks with family duties and illness, I am sure no one missed me ;)

So is photography an art form? I think so, but I am not too sure.

You see, I had a heated discussion recently with a highly talented water colour artist. She teaches at a local college. When I informed her that my lamentable attempts to draw with a crayon could be bettered by any 5 year old; she told me in all seriousness that I could be taught to draw. Now this goes against my beliefs that certain skills, such as music and art can only be learnt to a crude level, the ability to create truly wondrous things is an inbuilt function of a few naturally gifted people. She argued that this was not true. I think she was trying to be nice.

But what about photography then?  First, we need a good understanding of the operation and function of the hardware. How it is used to capture an image can be learnt. This is not a function of artistic talent.  Second, the nature of light. It could be argued that this is based in the practical world and is a study more to do with physics. This leaves us with composition. Now, can this be learnt to a level that is exactly the same as any of the grand masters of photography? I think so, but, well, this is where it all gets complicated for me.

Give 50 photographers a street to walk down and capture several images, and they will all  capture different moments of time. Our view of the world around us will always be different to another persons. So, is the true art of photography?  The ability to perceive something that your fellow human dismisses?

Another fly in the ointment for me is the big photo shoots.  With huge budgets, the creation of glossy magazine covers for the likes of  Vanity Fair means nothing is too much trouble in getting that perfect image.  But is this art the work of the photographer or a collaboration between all those responsible in creating the image in pre and post production?

So, are photographers born naturally gifted, or is it a craft like any other craft?  One that can be taught to any person given time?

As has been said before, are photographers frustrated artists that do not have the natural skills to draw or paint?