Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Photography (Has To Start Somewhere)

(Has To Start Somewhere )

'You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.'
Ansel Adams

To anyone who loves to pick up a camera, or would like to, the words of this wonderful photographer are great to keep in mind. It's amazing how the subjects we choose to capture and the way we choose to capture them change with time and experience. I've been practicing photography for five years now, and though I know I still have so much to learn about this art, or act as Adams calls it, I love looking back over past work and seeing the story it tells.

My father took this beautiful photograph when he was in Antarctica over thirty year ago. It has always struck me as a very human photograph, despite the subject being quite distinctly not human. We see a solitary Emperor penguin in the foreground, looking slightly forlorn, taking some time out from the crowd. Perhaps that's why Dad hung it up in his GP patient consulting room when he was practicing medicine.

He spent eighteen months in Antarctica as the medical assistant to a team of scientists, so he had a lot of time to develop an intimacy with his chosen photographic subjects. In the real world, there's not always time to do this, but the first lesson I learnt as a photographer is that photography has to start somewhere. The first step is to

Develop the courage to ask.

Don't let a few cold stares put you off.

Or be afraid to ruffle feathers.

In fact, find subjects that relax you first, and save photographing people until you feel confident and comfortable enough to do so.

Because you need to feel comfortable and confident to inspire comfort and confidence in your subject.

Just as you need patience with those who are shy.

You can hide in the shadows for as long as you like, and study the experts at work.

Find beauty where you naturally go to find beauty.

Hang back and watch from afar. 

But don't forget to

When you're ready, you'll recognize a king when he is sat on his throne.

You will be sensitive, and learn how to ask permission.

You won't be afraid to ask her where she got her piercing done.
(Or show her yours).

You learn to watch someone when they're talking about something they love.

Or talking to someone they love.

You find the right angle.

Knowing that it might take a while. 

In fact, it might take a whole month.

You start to make the most of finding yourself in the right place at the right time.

You start to make the most of the camera on your phone, especially on a sunny day.

You start to welcome the unexpected. 

You stop associating clouds with bad weather. 

You start looking for lines.

You start seeing them everywhere.

You will keep looking for lines.

Probably your whole life long. 

Happy photographing!


  1. Lovely, Helen,I really enjoyed that, well done!

  2. Oh I really loved it! I take my wee camera everywhere....just in case. I often find something in a photo I have taken that I didn't know was there...some more please!!! Jill Moffat (Twitter)