Sunday, January 13, 2008

exactly how random?

This photograph is not what one would call
an example of The Defining Moment.
It happens exactly when you don't expect it.
Or it happens approximately when you expect it to happen.
So you can set yourself up to catch it.

There's no way you would catch the defining moment
of a basketball match if you weren't there.

You could shoot the the whole thing in a variety of angles on moving film
and then afterwards pick out THE moment.
Weirdly enough you probably wouldn't find it.
There's definitely something else to it.
A sort of connection between the person behind the camera and the world out there.

I'm not sure I've ever caught anything on camera at the exact right moment.
I walk around the world with a camera in my hand and my eyes as wide open as possible.
Looking for pictures. Pictures to take.
Sometimes I just look for scenery, compositions, light.
Stuff that'd look good.

Other times i try to look for people that are interesting or doing interesting things.

I like to find symbols. Patterns.
Humor. Stuff that's a bit quirky.

I always try to use the camera in a way that isn't too commonplace.
Adding some little twist.
My personal touch.

Sometimes I just get so frustrated with my limitations.

So the other day I decided to try a new approach. New for me at least.
I carried the camera in my right hand,
pointing backwards, arm hanging down, camera vertical.
I snapped randomly during a walk around Union Square, down 5th towards Astor Place and back up along Broadway,
down into the subway, the L train to 8 avenue, switching to the E up to Penn Station.
The result?

Oh my. Totally boring.
I had to trash most of it.

However much I tried to imagine is at artful it wasn't.
Just plain ugly, out of focus, messy, badly composed, etc.
it was not better than a monkey could have done it.
Which I guess was quite comforting on one hand.
Photography takes more than luck and a total disrespect for the moment.

Luck is important. It may come your way now and then.
But be prepared.
Otherwise it'll pass you by.
Which might be a life lesson too.

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