I have come to realize that the most important building block in photography is content—or subject if you will. In fact, it’s more than just a building block, it’s what a photograph is about, or ought to be about. It can be a story, it can be an emotion, it can be a statement, but a photograph has to be about something more than just visual appealing elements. The equivalent goes for writing, for instance. You can write the most beautiful sentences imaginable, but if they don’t tell the reader anything, nobody is ever gonna care.
When I teach photography, I am often asked for tricks that can make a student’s photographs better. The truth is, there aren’t any easy tricks that will quickly result in great photography. The curse of today’s technology is that it is fairly quickly to get good at it. That is literally the problem. It’s like inheriting money before you have learned the value of hard work.
Am I good enough?
I think projects like these are important for getting one out of a rut and stimulating the creative juices. But sometimes it can lead to angst and frustration. My Nikon broke at the start of 2018 and a few months later my client abruptly ended my consulting contact (no explanation given) after 5 years. So I was without a camera and I did not want to spend money on a replacement until I was working again. During that time a friend loaned me her father’s Canon EOS 5D Mk III and EF 70-200mm lens.
Previously most of my photography fell into the “wide” range — 12-35mm — with the occasional foray into the 50-200mm. After several months of being restricted to 70-200mm, I am frustrated to the point where I don’t pick up the camera anymore. I know this because my wife commented that I leave the camera at home on every outing.
Being restricted to heavy 70-200mm prevented me from doing landscape photography, it prevented me from doing street photography (a 70-200mm is too conspicuous in the small town suburbs of New Jersey), and the camera + lens was too heavy to go “walkabout”.
I miss my 11-16mm, my 18-55mm, and my 35mm prime!!