Photography, and why I need to rediscover a lost passion

in #photography4 months ago

Back in oh, around 2008, I bought my first "real" camera, a Canon EOS 400D. You see, I've always wanted to be a photographer, ever since I admired the photos taken by my friends Dad in primary school (he was a professional with a home studio). But coming from a fairly poor working class background, any notion of pursuing that path in life was quickly vanquished upon discovering the costs involved. At the time, the cost of a camera alone seemed insurmountable to me.

Anyway, fast forward to me buying that Canon. I did play around with it a bit, none too successfully. I think I was under the illusion that all I needed was to point, shoot, and then marvel at the gloriousness of my immediate and obvious talent. Yeah, that notion was quickly vanquished too. This was going to take actual work. Aherm.

Of course I was busy with other things in life at the time too. Like worrying about paying bills and keeping my then teenage daughter safe and sound. So I kind of forgot about the camera for a while (a few years in fact).

Fast forward a bit further to 2012, and I suddenly remembered I had a camera that I'd paid (for me) a lot of money for. I really should try and get some use out of it. A friend of mine who had gotten into photography a couple of years previously suggested that I read a book called Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson, which I duly did. It was a revelation for me, I suddenly understood how a camera actually functioned and began to get an idea of where to begin.

Of course my first attempts were still pretty horrible. With the encouragement of friends and the photographic community on Google+ however, I persevered, and I was soon taking walks and photographing everything I came across. Trees, flowers, people, buildings, dogs, cats and even horses (there's a whole field of them a 10 minute walk away from my house). Slowly, I began to improve.

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Then I found my first true love, street photography. The above is taken from a selection of my very first attempts at it. It was pretty scary at first, especially taking my long history of depression, anxiety and social phobia into account. I didn't use a zoom lens, so often had to get physically close to people, strangers, on the street. But I loved the resulting images, so just had to grit my teeth and get on with it. I soon realised that the vast majority of people were absolutely fine with it and rarely did anyone object (I always delete images if asked to, but that only ever happened once).

I just grew to love the ability to capture tiny ordinary and candid moments of peoples lives and the stories that (I hoped) would live in the imaginations of people looking at those captured moments.

Photography for me also became therapy. I've struggled with depression / anxiety most of my life, and I had finally found something that not only gave me purpose but was also therapeutic in a way that didn't involve swallowing pills or a psychologist. It was amazing and it made me feel alive!

So why did I stop? Well, this is a hard thing to explain and I don't want to go into too much detail, but suffice to say there was a traumatic event and it made me feel like photography, and indeed pretty much anything, was pointless. I just couldn't bring myself to pick a camera up. It triggered a quite intense depressive episode that was very hard to drag myself out of. I did eventually, but then found myself out of the habit of taking photos regularly, google+ had been taken down, and I felt very low in confidence (still do!).

Apologies if I've rambled a bit. I've written all of this just as much for myself as for anyone, as a reminder of what I stand to gain from it. I may not be the best photographer in the world and doubt I ever will be, but that's not the point. The point is I enjoyed it, and other people seemed to like what I did too.

So, note to self: get off your lazy arse and take some photos! You were just beginning to be semi competent at it and there's still so much more to learn and discover!

Oh, and here's a very random selection of some of my street photography.

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Also (and thank you if you've scrolled down this far!), one question - what is the commonly accepted etiquette for posting photography here? Back on Google+ I would post just the image with the place it was taken and the date, that was it. Is that ok to do here or is it expected / desired to have some accompanying text to go along with it?

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Nice pics. You have an eye for this. I know @adetorrent enjoys some street photography.

Thanks! Always up for more street photography in my life so I've given @adetorrent a follow.

Is that ok to do here or is it expected / desired to have some accompanying text to go along with it?

If it's your content, don't worry about it. If it's not someone will pick it up sooner or later. You can't get 'paid' / rewarded for the work of others. There is a lot of plagiarism goes on and a corresponding lot of HIVER's looking out for it.

The place gets a bad name for this, but if it's all you work then you post with confidence. If it's somewhere else on the internet, then you may be asked to prove it's really you on the 'other account'.

When there's $$ involved, people do all kinds of things to get it.. including nicking other people's content.

Of course, sorry I should have clarified. It is / will be my original content, all photographed by me. The images I've put in this post have appeared at various places though (posted by me) as they're old. I[ll keep that in mind though, thanks.

I am most definitely against plagiarism. In context, my question was regarding posting my own photographs in a sort of "here's a photo I took" manner. I generally don't like to add text other than very minimal details as I like to see responses to the image itself. I guess another way to phrase my question is "do you like to see just an original image as an artistic statement or would you prefer to have additional text?".

No, you don't need to do any describing where or why you took it. There are no hard fixed rules, and if it's your stuff then don't worry about anything.

Good to know, thank you. Just didn't want to start off on the wrong foot so to speak.

this comment really does not want to be posted :) first i accidently closed the tab wile copying links to communities and than i accidently closed the browser :D

Check some photo communities and post where you find particular post fits the best (you can also check "Include also in my blog: " on peakd so it will be posted in the community and your blog). Here are some communities:
https://peakd.com/c/hive-181964/created
https://peakd.com/c/hive-194913/created
https://peakd.com/c/hive-175538/created
https://peakd.com/c/hive-108913/created
https://peakd.com/c/hive-153349/created
https://peakd.com/c/hive-127238/created

I always found street photography exciting and terrifying. I think it would help me grow mentally to do it, but the need to travel for it adds to "nah i will do another time"
Small town, everyone knows everyone, not really a great place for street photography.

Exciting and terrifying about sums it up. Being honest I think it's a hurdle I'm going to have to cross again, as I've been out of the "groove" for so long. I know when I was doing it regularly the terrifying part subsides but the excitement doesn't dwindle.

Appreciate what you're saying about the small town, I imagine that would feel awkward. I live in a small city but with lots of surrounding areas to choose from too, even the seaside is only a 30 minute car drive away. I actually really like taking the camera out there when I'm feeling a bit nervous about it as it's easier to blend in (not uncommon to see people with cameras along a beach). Not that I sneak around either, but you know what I mean.

Thanks for the tips, it's helpful!

As bil.prag pointed out, use the community system to post. There are a lot of photography communities, and some are very general purpose, some are more specific, but there is a place for every photo type.

I am still very new to photography, not even close to the amateur level, just a backyard shooter, but still love it. So looking forward to seeing your work.

You have some nice photos! I haven't picked the camera up in so long it's going to feel like starting again. We'll see how fast I can pick it back up. I think the key to accelerated learning is doing, as much as possible, every day if you can.

Now I just need to take my own advice.

Thank you, and sometimes we are the hardest person to listen to. (ourselves)

You work is great! I love the fact that you've injected some passion and commentary in your post, in addition to the images.

I always, always prefer posts about photography that tell me something of the story of how that image came to be. The story behind the photo is much more interesting than the settings used to capture an image.

I much prefer deconstructing that image with my eye (as one would examine anything) in order to figure out how it was made.

Hey, thank you! And thanks for your point of view on additional info.

I think perhaps the decision to add textual story to an image may depend on the genre. With street photography, at least for me, the image is the story. I liken it a bit to people watching, where you sit watching people go by and imagine the lives they may have. We probably all imagine those stories differently, which is why I don't like to add my own version to an image, for fear of tainting the viewers impression.

That said, it's fun to do sometimes, so I may do it occasionally.

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Wow, just looked over your portfolio, your portrait work is amazing!

Hey, thanks for the reply and the compliments on my work!

I have the same feeling with street photography. As a photographer, even if I'm shooting manual, once I've got the first light reading for the session, I'll rarely adjust ISO or shutter speed, or aperture, unless I'm looking to change up the mood, so I personally don't see much value in people going f/whatever shutter whatever, iso whatever.

Sure, if you've used F22 and 40 minute exposures at ISO 50 in the middle of the night to capture a brilliant portrait of someone as still as a cadaver, then its useful info - otherwise... it just isn't!

Sorry for the rambling! :D Glad to have a fellow creative (and a new person) that I can follow.

Enjoy your stay on this platform!

Oh please, ramble away! I have nobody in RL to talk about these things with (at least without their eyes glazing over) so it's always nice to compare notes!

Street photography made me a bit lazy in a way. I would always just set the camera by aperture and let it do its thing as I rarely needed to adjust settings anyway. I need to play around with manual settings more, I'm not as technically proficient with a camera as I'd like to be. Street is my first real passion but I do like to play with other styles too. Although equipment is a bit of a barrier also (I have no lighting stuff for example).

I'm really enjoying it on Hive so far, seems to be some really nice people here!

I know that feeling of eyes glazed over when you start to talk shop and deeper photographic theory with people. The moment you find someone you can talk about the technical rubbish about, the faster you both develop!

I am glad you're enjoying your time here so far!

Its always interesting to see how other people 'got into' photography, so thanks for sharing, it was an interesting read.

To be honest, I shoot all sorts of stuff, but the one genre I have never really tried is Street Photography. As someone with various anxiety issues and relatively poor people skills, I have always been to flippin' chicken to do it!

There are some cool shots here; I like the bride in the crowd scene, and the tied up dog looking straight at the camera.

So, note to self: get off your lazy arse and take some photos! You were just beginning to be semi competent at it and there's still so much more to learn and discover!

I'll second this. Get back out there and take some more photos!

Glad the post had some interest for you. I always feel it's a very fine line between interesting and sounding self absorbed when I write!

Believe me I know all about anxiety issues. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety almost 20 years ago. I live like a hermit, rarely leaving the house (I was well prepped for lockdown). So getting close to strangers with a camera was / is ultra scary for me. But it also inadvertently made me face my fears and to an extent I felt better equipped with a camera in my hand and a smile on my face.

Of course now I have to find that bravery again somehow, but I think I'll work up to it. It's going to be much harder atm with the pandemic anyway.

Thanks very much for the kind words, and I promise I'll take that advice very soon.

Wow... Your pictures are really Amazing! I also love taking pictures

Thanks, very kind of you!

Great pics!!!
As long as they are from you, you might add what you want.

Thanks for your comment and your praise, appreciate it. It's good to get to a feel for what people prefer (or indeed if they're not bothered either way) as each platform can be so different.

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Some cracking photos there! I especially like the black and white images - that's my kinda thing.

I've also had experience of anxiety and generally dislike being around strangers. Street photography has always appealed but I've never been brave enough to give it a go.

Thank you! I generally much prefer black and white too, although I dabble in colour I'm more at home with mono.

You should give street stuff a go at some point, it's honestly not as nerve wracking as you might think. Maybe try it first with a camera smaller than a DSLR, people tend to notice you less with a smaller camera (I love my Fuji X100 for that).

I have a mirrorless jobby which is a little more compact so maybe I'll give that a go. I'll have to take the kids with me for protection!

Kids as unpaid bodyguards - sounds reasonable enough to me! 😄