Monday, April 8, 2013

One Of Twelve?

Untitled, Charleston, SC  -  2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Famed photographer Ansel Adams supposedly once said, "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." Of course this statement came from a man used to lugging around a heavy view camera and a station wagon full of equipment. Burdened with that load, and the much more complicated processes involved in making a single photograph, most of today's shutterbugs would probably be satisfied with 12 significant photos per year too!

In today's digital age, however, significant photos seem to be much less important. Volume is apparently the byword in the cell phone toting, i-pad waving, digital camera point and shooters we see on the streets these days. Although I consider myself to be much more than a "snapshooter", I too have sometimes been seduced by the ease and economy of digital picture taking, and have been guilty of just mindlessly blasting away. It's amazing how confidence inspiring a 16GB memory card can be.

What if I didn't have room for several hundred images on a single memory card? What if film and processing was costing me $5-8 a shot? What if my camera weighed 20 lbs. instead of mere ounces? I'd probably be spending a lot more time thinking about what I was photographing before I pushed that shutter release button.

If I could only physically and financially afford to make a couple of dozen photographs on a five-day trip to Charleston, I'd probably come home with better photos. Is there any reason we can't take the same approach with our digital equipment? Not really, but sometimes the temptation to rush a shot because it's so easy, and "I can clean it up later in Photoshop" can causes us to be lesser photographers than we could be if we just slowed down. By just slowing down, twelve significant photos per year could be an attainable goal.

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