I figure we have a pretty good group of photographers on Cake right now, so why dont we use this unique platform and have some intresting discussions about photography?
I want to talk about an idea thats been bouncing around my head for a while: Photographic Restraint. When i say Photographic Restraint, I dont mean when to take the photo, but instead when to even take your camera with you in the first place!
A little back story for clarification: When I first started learning photography, my (excellent) teacher told me that the quickest and best way to learn how to take pictures was to take my camera with me everywhere and have it ready to take pictures at a moments notice. He certiantly did it, his Leica's strap was glued to his shoulder as far as I could tell.
So I did, and low and behold, I did improve. It honestly does help to have the camera with you at all times if you want to get better at photography. But after a while I started to notice something that bothered me: I was beginning to focus more on the camera and less on the world around me. I would go on these great trips but I wouldnt be exactly present. Instead of experiencing a place for myself, I would be futsing with my camera or setting up my tripod. I wouldnt be in the moment, expierencing where i was for my self. Instead I would be taking a picture so that I and others later could experience where I was vicariously through the pixels I collected.
So I tried an expirement: I put the camera down. I stopped taking it everywhere with me, unless I had a specific, planned goal in mind of something I wanted to shoot. When it did come out of the case, it was a concious decision. I didnt take it on trips or vacations, and if I ever did bring my old Nikon it mostly sat in the case.
Now what was the result of this expirement? Well, I must say I rather enjoyed it. I noticed it was easier to be present and enjoy where i was at, and I could pay more attention to enjoying myself. Sure, I might not have easy access to my camera, so i will miss some photos. But if I ever do absloutely need to take pictures my iphones right there ( It takes pretty nice photos, acutually ), and for everything else, i guess i'll just have to miss out on those photos. Its a price im gladly willing to pay!
In fact, im about to embark on a 5 day trip to New York in a few days, and I'm happy to say my camera was nowhere near my packing list!
So here comes the discussion bit: What do you think about the idea of Photographic Restraint? Do you take your camera with you everywhere? If not, when do you take it out?
Do you find yourself spending more time on the camera than on the location, or do you have a strategy to minimise the camera's impact?
Do you find yourself having difficulty enjoying vacations / trips because you spend too much time with your camera?
Also, i figured i'd add a photo i took so i could demonstrate what i mean by a concious decision to use my camera. In this case, it was at a student music theathre show thing at the local community college. Tons of fun!