“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
– Elliott Erwitt
Im often asked what it takes to become a better photographer. The quote above says it better than I ever could, although one of the things I always like to say about photographers is that a true photographer doesn’t just take a photo, he or she creates it. In much the same way, what may seem like an ordinary or even boring scene to most becomes world of possibilities and challenges for the experienced photographer. I have lost track of the countless rainy days that have become great photo opportunities for me as the brooding clouds have rolled in. As others are packing up and going home, I’ve often stayed until the last rays of light have gone from the sky, and occasionally I get images that make it worth the effort.
Great photography is not only about finding the details others miss, but also about taking what is there and shining a new light on it (sometimes literally). It’s about seeing the photo that could be, but doesn’t yet exist, and doing what we can to make the image in our head as close to a reality as possible. With studio photography, this is usually more easily controlled and achievable, while with travel photography, we arrange and organize things using our mind’s eye, and we wait and pray to the photo gods that the stars align and the photo comes together the way we envisioned it.
So how do you become a better photographer? The answer is easy to say, but hard to do: learn to see the art that’s always there.