During the first days of this year I was reading several interesting articles on photography that made me ponder over my photography aspirations and expectations. Are there any? Am I satisfied with my achievements? Is there anything I should change or do better? Those questions didn’t appear out of the blue. From time to time I heard their whispering and was aware of their existence and I knew they were just waiting for the right moment to speak up.
I started taking photographs with an old Russian easy-to-use camera as a teenager. I was documenting our holidays but I lacked interest in photography. Then many many years later I met my husband to be who was interested in photography. He owned a reflex camera and was taking photos on quite a different technical and artistic level. He let me try working with that camera but I had problems with the manual sharpening it needed and found it too technical at that time and so I stayed loyal to my point and shoot camera.
A few years later we bought our first Canon reflex camera with automatic sharpening and inbuilt meter of exposition and that meant a considerable change for me. We were sharing the camera and it went from my husband’s hands to mine and back during our trips as it was too expensive for us to buy one more. We were happy to have that one! Do you know what was the most difficult thing for me to understand? The fact, that when we stood at the same place and endeavoured to capture the same scene, the photos were utterly different…
Then my husband gave me a digital reflex camera for my 40th birthday and that moved me further again. No wonder taking photographs is such a popular activity nowadays, there are so many possibilities and things got easier in many regards. Yet the attitude still matters and there are many ways to follow. People often say that today one needs to take extraordinary and unusual photos to attract attention and it surely is true when you see how many wonderful and stunning photos are displayed on various websites and blogs. Nevertheless, I believe that there is still space for photography that is not striking but may appeal to others because of its colours, composition or atmosphere. I can see lots of sense in Henry Van Dyke’s words: “Use what talent you possess – the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
Though taking photographs has become my hobby, I don’t devote as much effort to it as I could. I take most of my photos just on our occasional family trips where I shoot everything from hand and also don’t educate myself enough in the field of photography. I and my husband bought a wonderful book on photography and I’ve never finished reading it. I’ve never finished reading the manual of my camera. In 2012 we bought a tripod with a ball head I was longing for and I’ve used it… twice since the purchase? The cable release which followed is still packed in its original package… Shame on me.
Yes, I struggle enormously with finding time for anything but is that a reason for just floating around and heading for nowhere? I don’t want it that way. So I decided to begin a 52-week photography project which means that every week I oblige myself to take and post a photo. I must not use any old photo, the photo must be taken in that particular week. The contents of the photo are not specified or limited. If more photos are taken in the week, I’m going to select just one for this project, the others may find their way into my other posts. (This may be quite challenging, but life is about choices, isn’t it?) I will try to use the tripod if applicable, I will unpack the cable release. I will open that manual and books on photography I have at home, step by step.
A photo a week, you may find it little. But for me it’s a reasonable goal and if I see 52 good enough photos in this blog at the end of the year, I’ll be happy. Though I’m not an extra talented photographer, I believe there is some value in my photographs and I want to enhance my photography skills, I want to grow. My word for this year happens to be “persistence” which matches this project wonderfully.
I took a few photos on the New Year’s day and one of them will start the project in my next post dedicated to the first week of 2014. I invite you to come and have a look at the displayed photos and leave your feedback, that would be nice. Your points of view are welcome.