I actually wanted to call this blog entry “Why I now hate DPC”, which is completely tongue-in-cheek, but I feared it may create the wrong impression. Anyway, now that I have your attention; Since attending the basic DPC course last year, it has almost been an obsession for me to post my two weekly shots for critique. I needed to get my fix. In the beginning, it was all about experimenting and fiddling and ….. well ….. fun. And besides, all the cool kids were doing it. As the year progressed, I now realise that I have fallen into the trap of purely posting for the sake of posting. I would go out and have fun on a “shoot”, take what I thought were the better shots, tweak them and post them here to see what the response would be. Shock…. horror…. it was becoming a routine.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can see that through the volume of shooting, my work has improved since those early days, but since attending the advanced course these past few weeks, I have come to realise that I have been shooting for all the wrong reasons and most importantly WITHOUT INTENT! What the course has highlighted, for me anyway, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with casual photography. Shooting for fun, editing for fun and sharing your work. In fact I encourage everyone to keep the fun element as alive as possible, but my horrific realisation while sitting listening to the lecture was that I was not spending enough time thinking about the WHY I was taking a particular shot.
Those 3 little letters W-H-Y just about knocked me for a six and has made me re-evaluate what it actually is that I am doing with my camera. Naturally, this made me depressed as photography suddenly went from being fun to frustrating in no time at all. (Thanks ALOT DPC). When you start thinking about WHY you are taking a picture, it completely over shadows the what, how, who and where in an instant. The other questions, to a degree, all have tangible answers to them but the WHY leaves me floundering and is now forcing me to really think a lot harder about what it is I am trying to accomplish as a photographer and what it is that I what to communicate in my pictures.
This is actually a difficult place to be in, but fear not. As it turns out, John Fox and Danie Bester have assured us that this is a journey all photographers, in fact all artists, have to endure at some point and once you figure out your own individual answer to your particular WHY, it opens up a whole new world for you. You have progressed to the next level. You are shooting with a purpose and intent. What does this mean for me? Well, in order to break bad habits, I have decided to only upload to Photo Critic, photos which I feel I can honestly give an answer to the question WHY. Sounds simple enough….not. But more importantly, I am making a concerted effort to give much more thought and analysis into a photo before I even pick up the camera and ensuring that I honestly understand why I am taking that shot in the first place. Sure, it means I am actually going to physically take fewer photos, but hopefully the ones I do take will be better for it.
In closing, I would like to encourage all of you out there to attend an advanced course at some point and to start using the tools you will learn there to start putting some more WHY into your shots along with the WHO, WHAT, WHERE and HOW.