Monday, 6 September 2010

Week 65: Discover.

This post is all about my photographic priorities and how I think when out on location. You can discover some fantastic moments to capture if you wait all day for that decisive moment (Cartier-Bresson), or if you plan these moments from scratch (Crewsdon). However, sometimes when you are planning or setting up for that beautiful shot, you can accidentally stumble across something that has much more beauty. It takes perseverance to pull away from the original thing you obssessed over.

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
- Andre Guide

Please read on.

This is Old Man Cemetery (Mark). This is not the photograph that was intended for this post. This week I was determined to go to a certain location to capture a photograph that I had noticed a few months back. Everyday I kept saying to myself, let's go there and just take it. The photograph had to be taken between six and seven o'clock (golden hour). This was how I had imagined the light to fall and I like to plan ahead. The photograph I originally intended to take was actually an architectural image that links back to Brutalism. However, my reactions took the better of me when I arrived on location. As a photographer you have to think economically, and judge your outcome by both your surroundings and subject matter.

I got to the location and set up the Hasselblad. It just so happened to turn out that I had timed my walk wrong and arrived just as golden hour was ending so I literally only had about 10 minutes to set up, meter and shoot. That's when something caught my eye. Even though I only had a short time before the sun went down behind the buildings of Reading town centre, I had to check this out. It was all a little bit of a blur. At first I noticed an old man dancing to cars as they went past, at least I think it was dancing, I can't quite remember now. Just around the corner from him were two other men sitting on a wall singing and wailing. I had never seen such a diverse group of friends.

I had to make a quick decision, was I going to ignore them and carry on with this photograph I had been planning for months? Hell no. Spontaneity, quick thinking and perseverance are also traits that come with being a photographer. To be completely honest, I had the perfect preconceived image on the ground glass viewfinder but it didn't seem quite as perfect as this group of homeless friends. I had to prioritise my subject matter in a very short amount of time. I though to myself, next time there is a pristine gold sunset the building will still be there. So I walked over to them and handed them a bit of shrapnel in exchange for a few photographs. They told me if I bought them a pack of cigarettes they'd let me hangout with them all evening. So I did.

Song listening to right now: Wicked World - Black Sabbath

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