On Magic

The greater the number of variables in a system the more likely we are to see magic.

I look at photography as a skill that is learned, like playing the guitar. No magic to it, just hard work. The trick to photography is that what you do “right and wrong” aren’t plainly obvious, at least not in the same way that when driving a car what you are doing right and wrong are. If you are driving too fast it’s obvious without a whole lot of practice both what you are doing wrong and what to do to fix it.  (Have a written about this here before?)

As a beginning photographer you know that you aren’t making images with the same impact that you see others making, but you have no idea why. At least I didn’t. With practice your visual acuity increases. The mistakes start to stand out and you learn what to do about them.

I try to shoot every day and work on those images every day (if I can), all with the idea that improvement is inevitable with hard work and thought. I’ve been at this, shooting daily, for maybe five months now and I think my improvement has been pretty steady. (I’ve been into photography since High School, so this isn’t just starting from scratch four months ago, I had a pretty good foundation to work from.)

I think a lot about telling visual stories. About really trying to communicate an idea in an image. This is what I’ve been working on: taking the technical magic and randomness out of the making the image while keeping the emotional magic in the image.

(This post was initially a reply to a thread in Smaller Indiana’s Indiana Photography group.)