The eyes of a photographer

Thank you to those who have participated in the “I Love” Project – please write a blog post about what you love, and let me know about it so I can link you on the list and share your story with everyone.

Anyway… This is part of my assignment…

Before studying photography at university, I was just a kid with a camera. I didn’t bother reading about how cameras worked, finding out about different kinds of cameras, or how to compose a photograph. I just took pictures purely for the sake of capturing moments for memories. To me, a good photograph was something in focus, something crisp and smooth, and something without blur (my favourite band… no, sorry, getting off topic).

For a while I thought that every single photograph I took had to be in focus, had to be clear, concise, precise; completely flawless.

Then I found out about Man Ray.

Marquise Casati was compelling. It was sinister, and from the moment I saw it, I knew there was something about it. This was it for me. No longer did I want to be a kid who took pictures. I wanted to be someone who made photographs. Every time I hear of Man Ray, I remember the first photograph of his that I saw – Marquise Casati, and despite how much it gave me nightmares – really inspired me to be daring. To step out of my comfort zone.

Man Ray wasn’t a photographer whose work I scrutinised to no end. Not every photograph dragged me in the same way Marquise Casati did. But his nude photography made me a bit more appreciative of that kind of work, and it amazed me how he could capture such purity and vitality, innocence and youth.

It has never been my object to record my dreams, just to realize them.
Man Ray, O Magazine, September 2002

Prior to studying photography, I decided to read into photography on my own, positive I would enjoy it. I did, but in the beginning, actually studying it was dull. The technical aspects were things I fussed over, and that became difficult. It was difficult simply to get over the fact that once taken, there is no delete. It encouraged me to go back to my old school roots, listen to more vinyl, keep embracing the Beatles, ignore everyone who thought I was weird for liking cassette tapes, fall asleep to Pink Floyd. I suppose that was part of the photo-making. I had to do a bit of thinking and compose things, and make the photograph rather than just take it. Seeing the world through a lens made me appreciate a lot of things, and I was able to take photos I had never imagined myself taking before. Going through the tedious process of developing film soon took up most of my afternoons. The hardest thing was time. Being a girl who is so well managed with her time, I found it hard to make priorities in photography. It was difficult to make decisions about what to photograph, what to print, how to print. It was hard to fit that kind of time into my busy schedule. However, I realised that I still loved photography enough to pursue it. I went on.

I found a sneaky little trick to save time. I attempted to use the same enlarger and noted down the exposure time when I printed my contact sheet so that when I printed my photographs, I could save another round of finding the right exposure time again.

I faced several challenges, such as getting ideas for what to photograph. I was thinking too far into it. I was really just thinking about certain things, times and places to photograph. I began to realise that you can really make a good photograph with anything. I was too sucked in by the typical edited digital photography of today, that I found it hard to overlook, and was continually stuck at the divide between that and the amazing work of other photographers.

For instance, Imogen Cunningham’s botanicals inspired me. I realised that the “good” photographs of roses that I had taken in the past could not compare to her amazing stills of sweet, innocent flowers. I’ve always enjoyed taking photographs of roses. Tina Modotti’s Roses gave that feeling of mystery and ethereality. I could never capture more than just the rose itself – they were just that – photographs of roses. I did try, but for such a detailed flower, it was difficult. There were several shots on my rolls of film that came up so dull on the negatives. It’s a challenge I still face. I still cannot make a photograph with a flower look interesting. One day, I hope to pull up something as deep as Cunningham’s work.

I’m at that stage where I know you don’t need a good camera to take good photographs. If one can truly understand that and not be so arrogant to think, “I have a 20 megapixel camera, I take better photos than you”, then they have my respect.

There’s still a long way to go.

Comments on this post

We have the rain now too, I’m so thankful for it. I’ve just bought my winter coat, too. This font I’m typing in is the same font I have on my website, ahah! It’s such a nice font, I just don’t have it in bold so I can’t bold things on my website. I’ve tried changing the font weight and eveything :(

My dad’s friend might be able to fix my Xbox, but if not, I’ll have to just keep my hard drive and bin it. I was hoping it would last until Christmas, when I get a laptop of my own and don’t have time to play it :P

YAY icons! They’re so pretty. My friend loves the game Doom, he always asks me if I’ve played it yet and I’m just like, I don’t have the right console, I never will.. XD

I already knew you were 20, I almost put 200 then! I’ve read you’re about every time you’ve updated it. That sounds stalkerish, but you’re really interesting Georgie!

I like photographs with good lighting, a bit of blur if it looks right, but when it’s photos of myself I like it to be crisp and perfect. I think I’m getting the Canon D1100 next year, so, wahoo! I’d say I have an interest in photographs, good cameras, but not really how they work. I wouldn’t read up about it & I couldn’t take it at University.

I wanted to take a course in graphics design, but I figured it’d just make me read too much into my designs and I’d get sick of doing it, I’d be making a hobby more of a chore. So, I’m going with Art History instead. This is a 15 year old girl who hasn’t even started college yet :P

It is really funny that you wrote this post. I’m busy looking for a new camera as I’m really inspired by a woman named, Erin who takes amazing photography at events. She’s at every single darn event. She has this huge damn camera and I want one too. I don’t have that much cash saved to buy a reaaaaally great one but rather a reasonable Nikon or Canon…Sony even if I am forced too. I just saw the Marquise Casati photo… Black and white…my obsession now like you noticed. It’s so eery but amazing rolled into one.
Photography is so incredible because you can really catch the emotion and moment. I want to get into it so later I can frame all my best pieces. I’m so sentimental with my reporting stuff.

And thank you so much for the lovely comment on my blog post <3 I appreciate it

I’m so happy you have the tutorial! I’ll read it. =]

I love photography too! Everything is always relaxing and I love pictures with a nice scenery. Planning to study it next year, and looking forward to! Got to love tumblr for the amazing photos you can find. <3 Photography is amazing. :lol: I have a 10 megapixel camera :/ Sony. XD

I really liked reading this post. I’m currently teaching at the university level, so I love reading people’s work. Also, I liked the philosophy behind the camera. It’s not the camera that makes the photo, it’s the person’s passion as well. This post made me think of my boyfriend who just bought a new camera and has been taking amazing photos. I know it’s him, not the camera, but it just made me smile since his new camera is basically his second girlfriend now, haha.

I remember when my dad started teaching photography. It was actually fun, and I still remember the most important thing he taught me about taking photos: “the subject of the photo should be centred.” xD; I know now there’s more to taking photos than that, but I think that’s like one of the most basic things about photography (then again, I wouldn’t know).

It does make me feel sad I don’t have a good camera to take photos. Sure the iPhone’s isn’t that bad, but its camera app eats through my battery as if it was cake. Ah why must good cameras be so expensive? Of course I know you don’t need an state-of-the-art camera to take good photos, but it still feels good to have one, heh.

Actual photography and point-and-shoot photography are two completely different things. For the average consumer, 20 megapixels is more than enough. It takes an average person to record a few scenes and it takes a photographer to turn it into a work of art.

Man Ray’s stuff is creepy! I looked up Marquise Casati and saw a ghastly face glaring at me. Eek!

I just participated in your I Love project and hit you up with the tweet :D!

For any ameteur photographer, a perfect picture contains what you have mentioned. There’s always people out there who takes a step into photography and anything in different perspectives.

Earlier this year, I was introduced to nude art- where there is beauty in sketching out nude portraits. At first, I felt awkward just drawing nude people. But I started understanding the concept.

There’s always obstacles and tricks you’ll encounter. But then again, you should just stick to what’s best for what you like. Nothing is impossible and everything’s possible. Your appreciation for photography in a deep level is.. Awesome.

In today’s recession, I don’t even know how new schools are being built -__-! But there’s just some things at school that are… Unnecessary! D:! But oh well so swell :(

I realize I just fiddle around in the morning in front of the computer doing nothing productive :(! I might as well just sleep for an extra 30 minutes! :P

Thank you (:! A lot of people love the box picture for some reason :O! I love the box picture rather than the cap and gown picture :(. But thank you again ;D! My hair and everything was just perfect there! D:!

Take care(:

I now regret I didn’t participate in that project. I think I noticed it a little late and didn’t have time to think of something good to write. BUT THIS LAYOUT IS SOOOOOO DAMN GORGEOUS YEAH I CURSED BECAUSE IT’S THAT GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To make up for it I’ll look into writing about something I love. Hopefully.

I’m so jealous of you right now, you get to study photography which is my 2nd dream. I’ve never had a camera and the most I can do is do stupid stuff with my phone and its horrible quality camera. This is something I think my mom should read because she needs to understand there’s inspiration and theory and focus in art it’s not a whole lot of messing around.

I do think you need a good camera to take photos though. Because I can’t do anything with my phone.

Aww, I loved this post. I actually take a lot of my photography with my camera on my phone ( or at least my old cell phone because they came out so nice with the camera applications I had along with it ). It really isn’t the product taking the picture, but the angle and the eye of the beholder to find that beautiful image.

Sorry I missed you I love project (:

I Googled Man Ray and also Marquise Casati. I freaked out. Hehe. But you’re right, his nude photography were really amazing. His concept don’t look like porn at all.

As for Imogen Cunningham, her works are mostly about details I guess. I’m no photographer but I really appreciate photography just like the way I appreciate painting and architecture.

Just like you, I also believe that you don’t need a good camera to take good photographs. And I believe you could take great photos too. I hope you find the inspiration so that you could take that perfect shot. Maybe you just need a stronger concept for your photos. /wave

Ho. Wugs.

Yeah, gear isn’t much. Technique in the end defines skill; technique enhances the right equipment, not the other way round.

Hrj, I like how you can appreciate other people’s photographs :3 and soon you’ll be good toooooo :B

🤫 (Y)

thanks for your comment. i was very shocked because there were so many entries and FAR better ones than mine, my one friend i made on that site won a Nixon Camera /bounce.
your new layout is so cool i could never pull off a plain layout like this i love your little logo thing you put with your quotes.
i love looking at photos that people who have studied photography, their photos are so WOW and i just look at it with my mouth hanging open in awwww.
i just googled Man Ray and also Marquise Casati i was gobsmacked i love how they are in black and white, i love black and white photos it says so much about the photo and it stands out as well. its not really porn considering other photographers that go into heavy detail i think they consider the censorship of us women.
i believe when you say that you don’t need a good camera to take perfect shots, you just need practice.
how long does the I love you piece have to be? when does it end?

Haha I agree…even now I don’t bother too much about different kinds of cameras but more with making memories.

So I was curious and did a Google search and that scared me lol. But I can see what you are getting at. I like going back to my cassette tapes once in a while…sadly I don’t have my collection here. From what I have heard developing film does take a long while…I admire your patience with photography and being so good at it :3

It can be difficult to make a flower photography more than just a photography. I am not big on film photography but I guess it could be a good challenge for someone like you…I am sure one day you will capture an art piece :D

I agree that you don’t need a good camera to take good pictures…just good battery life and storage XD.

Your posts are always so thoughtful, and really relates to life. I love that :]
I love photography, too. I had never really thought of it before I joined my school’s yearbook, and had thought that great pictures just…popped up by themselves? Got taken at the right place, right time? Now, I know that I was wrong. Of course they can still be taken like that I suppose, but the way the picture is actually composed makes the photograph even better. I loved how you described the journey you went through from beginning to right now. Man Ray’s Marquise Casati is inspiring yes, he is truly a fantastic photographer. I remember seeing that a year or two ago, and I stared at it for a really, really long time XD I didn’t see the beauty of it at first, but when I looked at it a couple of months later, I saw it. It’s just so raw and inspiring.
I have a Nikon right now :| Honestly, it’s not that great, apparently “cannons are so much better” but I love my camera. I honestly can’t believe how people go on and on about how great their camera is when they can’t even take a god damn picture with it because it’s so complicated XD.I really wouldn’t trade my camera for any other.

I think Nikon and Canon are the best brands. But each person chooses their own kind of camera. I went for a Canon because my old film camera was a Canon. I had already become used to it. It’s not about the equipment either. If it works for you and fits your needs (that is the most important thing), then it’s good. :)

haha i had to smile a little to myself when i read “i’m at that stage where i know you don’t need a good camera to take good photographs.” :D best quote ever, and if it was possible, i would absolutely love to burn it into certain people’s heads. i know some people who thinks their photography is extraordinary brilliant just because they’re having a nikon with XXXXXXXXXXXmegapixels while mine are crap because i’m borrowing my dad’s old canon which only has ten. a friend of mine once said something along the lines of “asking the photographer which camera he’s using, is the same as asking the author which computer he has”. of course it’s easier not to take a bad shot with a better camera, but i still think the magic lies with the photographer.

i am no expert when it comes to photogrpaphy, but i know what i think is beautiful and what’s not. an english photographer, named rosie hardy (who takes some of the world’s best photographes), really opened my eyes of all the possibilities you have as a photographer to create something beautiful, ’cause there certainly is no limits when it comes to your imagination!! (:

thank you!! <3<3 i will definitely try something totally new next time. this layout was pretty similiar to the last one, but i just wanted a change of colours and layout FAST so i didn't bother much with the coding nor a new look. but i will try to make something out of mind next time, hahahahaa!! i won't give up until i have a new style at least.

and now i was just completely rude to not even mention your new beautiful layout!! well i will call this a classic, and i love the simplicity of it :D it’s probably my favourite of yours so far, the footer is by the way lovely, i love those cute swirls!!

I like how you’ve captured the essence of what it truly means to be a photographer. I myself will never be one as I don’t have an innate passion for it, and that which I have no passion for is hard for me to delve into. I will say that having a best friend as a photographer is a learning experience as I join him down this road of his journey to becoming better at his craft. We don’t simply because ‘good’ at something because we have the materials; we have to to be willing to be vulnerable and willing to say, “I was wrong”. Any and every artist worth their salt knows that looking for instant gratification is the fastest way to stay in the same place and avoid growth. It’s only when we learn to become students all throughout and not teachers is when we truly are at our best.

*become not because, bit of a typo there!