Posted by: David Vernon | March 23, 2010

A few thoughts in a busy week

Tree in Concept OnlyI’m gearing up, both literally and figuratively, to make a little working trip later this week but before I depart I wanted to pass along a few tidbits.

Our old bud, David duChemin, has been cracking wise over the last few days on the topic of sucking. David is an eloquent writer and photographer and he raises some important points about risk-taking and being willing to suck, if only to extend your own photography.  For a little photographic wisdom, I highly recommend David’s take on “Suck-Mode“, followed by a dose of his ideas on “Sucking Is Not Enough“. I’m totally at peace with my own suck mode – in fact our suck modes are all relative – and we all have them. Accepting that 97% of the stuff you shoot could suck is okay – because that means you’re trying to stretch yourself and that you’re not just trying the same old thing. So my own take on David’s wisdom – summed up in five words: “Don’t be afraid to suck”.

If we can escape suckage for a minute, Scott Bourne has this nice little bit of advice on how to minimize sensor dirt (or as we like to say schmutz). All common sense things to do when dealing with things that make your sensor hate you.

The folks at Adobe have released a second public beta of Lightroom 3.0. This software has been available for a few months now – totally free for your use until the scheduled end of the beta on April 30. This update has a number of nice updates (including support for tethered shooting) that are worthwhile if you’ve been using the beta. Head over to Digital Photography Review for all the relevant links.

The BBC’s Wildlife magazine has made available a whole bunch of their excellent Photo Masterclasses for free download in PDF format. These are articles written by Wildlife photographers and specialists in their genre of nature photography. You’ll find articles on macro photography, landscape photography, and photographing different creatures under all sorts of different conditions. If you love learning a new photography trick or two you’ll definitely want to dive into the archives of the BBC (and thanks to Lifehacker for finding this).

Let me finish with another thought, partially from duChemin (also worth the read on its own) and partially from Dr. Robert Phillips, the Directing Pastor at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Peoria. In another post, duChemin waxed on an old Henri-Cartier Bresson quote :

“Photography is nothing – it’s life that interests me. I resonate strongly with that, and I think my books reflect a similar feeling – that photography is not an end in itself but a means by which we see the world, interact with it, and say to the rest of the world, “look at this!”

I totally agree with Cartier Bresson’s (and duChemin’s) philosophy. Here’s another simple quote: “Doing landscape photography is a dream come true for me, yet I would be just as happy, I suspect, without a camera, as long as I could stand in these places.” That quote is actually from me and it appeared in an article in the Peoria Journal Star about the ongoing Fine Art Exhibit at FUMC. The camera is a bonus. Photography is a bonus – but it lets me do art for art’s sake. I saw one more quote recently – about how art is the transfer of emotion from the artist to the viewer. These places I get to stand evoke a powerful reaction in me and the camera and photography is how I share that reaction with my viewers. And then I came across this sentiment from Dr. Phillips, who wrote a short piece for the opening of the FUMC show:

“The classic expression of appreciation for the world of the arts is ars gratia artis, ‘art for the sake of art,’ – art and human creativity has worth for its own sake. Human creativity and artistic endeavor resist simplistic questions of modern consumerism that measures value in terms of ‘What does it do?’ Art invites us to revisit the richness of being, without which all questions of ‘doing’ become another plodding way to do through the motions of life without ever truly living.”

So be content in creating for the sake of creating. And be content in sucking a lot of the time – it just means you’re trying.

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