For me, taking a photo is the last part of making a photo. What do I mean by that? In studying photography, there are two veins I have found most interesting. The first is simply to study the various photographic genres and the photographers who made notable contributions in those genres; the second is to pay close attention to how those same photographers began their careers, what their early work was informed by, and what it looked like. In this way, I have endeavored to educate myself about what has come before me in an effort to avoid repeating any mistakes, and in order to continue working toward creating truly original work that is both relevant and memorable to our time.
But what does that have to do with what I do before making a photo? So many professional photographers have spoken about their creative process and would agree that to walk a place as naturally as possible— in some cases without all of your gear— is to focus your senses, engage your imagination, and visualize the making of a photograph, without the distraction of lugging equipment with you. For photography, I believe this is an essential aspect of the creative process; gear and technique are really just tools I fill in once I know what my story or narrative is.
Street photography and landscape photography are two genres that are easily accessible to the everyday photographer, and are also genres with deep roots in the photographic world. When taking personal photographs, it’s more than okay to do what you can with the equipment you have. It can be fun and intuitive to play around with the color filters; however, even with a cellphone camera, a basic understanding of composition— using the golden ratio, or the rule of thirds— even with just a cellphone camera can produce much improved images, even for an amateur. Commercial or commissioned projects almost always require expertise and the right tools or guidance from an art professional.
Examples of steps along the way to my “making” a photo? Here are some of my favorite photos taken on my travels through Europe in 2015. These were actually taken on my mobile (Samsung Galaxy Note 4). I have a series of horizontal and vertical format photos that I took which can be viewed in the gallery above. At this stage in my career, I consider these as reference photos and intend to make it back with my professional equipment in the future, project TBD.