Photography is one of the fastest evolving and exciting art forms, along with the ease of taking images with a smartphone and sharing on social media; with a vast array of career options, there’s much for a person to become engrossed in.
Where to start
The good news is photography relies on people sharing views, whether opinions or what is in front of us and we are all experts in what we know. It makes sense that it you are going to be more focused (pun intended), you should take photographs of things you enjoy and are interested in; whether its family, friends or your location. If you enjoy sport, do that, if gardening is your thing, take photographs of your plants. Your passion in the subject will come through in your photographs.
Finding a way of seeing with a new perspective could come from copying others, that might seem like a contradiction but combining influences will give you your own style. Viewing others work is one way to be inspired. Most major museums collect photographs and auction houses hold regular sales of photographs, even if you can’t make it you can find them online. Its here you’ll learn about the important figures, movements and styles and what lifts an ordinary photograph into something special.
Street photography is very popular, we like to learn about other people, especially in unobserved situations, its not always easy but can be very rewarding. Most of us can be shy or don’t want to put ourselves in danger but there is a way to get the shots without stress. Taking photographs at a public event; whether its the local carnival, a music concert or family event, people are enjoying themselves and are happy to have their photograph taken. Always be respectful; if people say no, they mean it.
The temptation is to take photographs from a distance of subjects like sunsets and urban landscapes and whilst they can be appealing its nice to offer something fresh, something that might otherwise go unobserved, so move closer and fill the frame with detail. Take several different close-up views of the same subject, projects like this will add dept to your work and whilst its true a picture paints a thousand words, one photograph will not tell the whole story.
Some points to consider when out (or at home) taking photographs:
1. Look at the subject without using the camera and aim to make the camera do what you see or feel,
2. Through the viewfinder look around the edge of the frame, make sure there is nothing distracting you don’t want to see,
3. If the composition includes the horizon, move it above or below the middle of the frame,
4. Make the main point of interest off-centre (left/right top or bottom) and
5. Choose the orientation (portrait or landscape, vertical or horizontal) to suit the subject and that draws the eye from the edge of the frame to the main subject.
An advanced camera and software can help create outstanding photographs but its not the main thing, YOU are.
All of these will help improve your photography. Good luck and have fun!
Roger Watson on Anthony Jones
from Eastman Museum
It’s not fashionable but it is classical and though bigger, brighter and more colourful images are in vogue now, like the fads of the past they will seem old before their time and the classic modernist work of Anthony will still seem relevant, significant and beautiful.
Working in black and white with a medium format camera, Anthony walks the streets of his native London looking for momentary juxtaposition of disparate objects creating a pattern that only black and white can reproduce. His image of a London taxi in front of the Bank of England holds both the motion and constant change of urban life and the solidity of tradition and steadfastness.
His work has the flavour of Paul Strand’s images of New York in the 1930s and of Bill Brandt’s London work a decade later. Anthony’s work comes from a long tradition of the lone photographer, walking the streets with his eyes open to the moment when balance occurs and an image can be made.
His work does not speak of today or yesterday or tomorrow. Instead they speak of the abstract patterns created by the momentary conjunction of objects and places in the modern metropolis. His images are quiet reflections in the midst of a noisy city. His images both define and belie the facts of modern urban life.