Friday, October 10, 2008

Commonplace

For years I've been reading the blog, The Luminous Landscape, because it had lots of good information in it. Recently it has become more about new high-end equipment and exotic photography workshops to amazing locations. The photographs that are in the blog are really eye-catching. But is that what photography is all about? Expensive equipment and locations that most of us can only dream about going?

I'd been thinking about writing about this for a week or so since Luminous Landscape started posting photographs from the latest trip to Botswana but while I was thinking about it, Mark Hobson, The Landscapist , wrote this entry. It says a lot of what I was thinking about.

If we only photograph the grand, the rarity, then we are limiting our photography impulses. We will feel compelled to travel to exotic places or even the next town over before we think we can make good photographs. Isn't the real question, can we find images in the commonplace that surrounds us everyday.

10 comments:

Bob Mrotek said...

I think that you are on to something Billie. I look with awe at the photos that you and some of the other bloggers put in your posts and I feel intimidated. I always wonder how you do it and do it so consistently. I do my best with my little digital version of the old Brownie Starflash (remember that?) but sometimes I hesitate to put up a photo because it may not meet an acceptable "blogger" standard. Then I think "What the heck, I'm trying to tell a story and if my photo carries the point across then it meets MY standard anyway. Sometimes I wish we could all go back to the old Verichrome Pan days but that will never happen except in my memory. In the meantime us photographically challenged people will just have to keep running to catch up to you guys. Lead on Billie :)

Steve Cotton said...

I think the answer is "yes." There is always beauty in the commonplace. Your night pictures in your neighborhood are a perfect example.

Islagringo said...

Here, here! Exotic pics are nice but I much prefer the everyday variety!

Babs said...

Well, living in San Miguel I often feel like I could take 50 photos a day and still never get all the weird and wonderful things I see in my daily walks and travels - right here!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

I think it is nice to have both kinds of photos.

I tend to the more commonplace but embrace the moments I do have to opportunity for something more unusual.

My challenge is to make sure I live the moment and do not just photograph it.

richland said...

The exotic takes us out of ourselves and the everyday puts us back into ourselves. It is that human connection no matter where we live or what language we speak that joins us together.

Perhaps that is why we dislike street shooters.

Tommy Williams said...

I have long subscribed to this principle but sometimes I fear that I have adopted it not because I prefer the intimate photos but because I am unable to produce the grand photos.

But I do believe we are surrounded by wonder. If we start expecting that the only beautiful things are those we see far away and under light that happen for a few minutes each day, then we turn most of our lives into something mean and disappointing. Our lives are what we do every day. As Sting wrote in "Consider Me Gone": "To look for heaven is to live here in hell."

pitchertaker said...

I was not aware the "we" dislike street shooters, "richland." I'm myself am a street shooter, and I would say that about 99% of the time I like myself. And I think that other tolerate well both me and street photography. Nothing wrong with going out of our normal element to photograph, but to do only that is very limiting. Who among us can afford to constantly travel to exotic places. Not me for sure. More importantly how we satisify that constant drive and passion to make photograhs is what counts. Many profess to have the passion, but only a few act on it. All the others watch with envy and fuss. Ya' know?

P'taker

Billie said...

P'taker, Richland and I have discussed some of the ugly, disrespectful Street Shooter behavior that we see with some photographers here in SMA. I know you don't fall in that category. But in reality I'm not really good at taking photos without getting permission. I just can't do it.

Anonymous said...

William Eggleston made the ordinary radiate emotion. (sp?)