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Saturday, December 24, 2005

More Illustrated Photographic Philosophy 

Dog and Girl: technically a refutation of the no-human-models theory below, but The Lovely One was so sick at the time of shooting that she wasn't going anywhere, and couldn't object. Anything in the service of the art....I've briefly visited the question of what kinds of things digital photographers take pictures of in the past. A year and a half later, I'm ready to revisit that thought and why.

Avid digital photography resembles avid hobbyist film photography in many ways: I think both tend to attract fussy loners, and even darkroom insanity has its obvious parallels in post-capture image editing (only easier, faster, more powerful, and less messy). What I think digital photography has done is convert more people like me from casual shooters of family-gathering photos to obsessive shooters of grand masses of artistic photography. The default seems to be stuff that doesn't move, and hopefully doesn't involve a human model. Flowers, pets, architecture and landscapes, with a fair bit of close-up photography, too.

Conifer Close-upI don't have anything deeply profound to say about this choice of subjects. The obvious reasons are that you don't have to bore a human model with posing for you, and you can engage in the kind of instant-feedback iterative-adjustment shooting madness I praised previously.

Maybe it's more interesting to talk about what we obsessive unprofessionals don't take pictures of. The most obvious is candids of strangers. Why? If you're me, it's because you're shy, and if I end up wanting to publish this photo, at best I feel bad about the nominal privacy violation, and at worst I fear getting sued (or just making an enemy). Overblown concerns, sure, but there are many other things to shoot. And by the way, that concern pretty much goes double for kids: the kid photos I and others take tend to go up either Friends-and-Family-Only on Flickr, or not at all.

Sheetmetal Workers' Rocket detailThere are a lot of amateur action photos out there (get your minds out of the gutter!), but I somehow don't think of them as archetypal amateur subjects. My suspicion is that it's one type of photography that really benefits from high-end equipment (long lenses, high sharpness, and no shutter lag).

Anything else missing from the canon of unprofessional photography? Nothing occurs right now, but I suspect one of you out there will remind me.

That's about all I have for now. Merry Christmas eve, and I'll figure out something more to say later.

Do you follow any photoblogs? The pictures of my favourites ended up pushing me to try out candids of strangers and other types of photos beyond what I might otherwise have taken.
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