I’ll be giving a talk/seminar at the Westchester Photographic Society tonight titled “Beauty Within – A Journey of the Landscape“, where I talk about my basic approach and philosophy to photography, and present some of my evolving work using a slideshow presentation.
As much as I try and prepare for these lectures, I seem to do best when I just talk from the heart and let the images and the places I’ve photographed inspire me. I do spend a lot of time preparing the actual slideshow (using Apple’s Keynote software), and make many notes about what I want to say. But so often as in photography, the feel of the setting and the audience will dictate my own tempo and direction, and I try and adapt to the people that are present. I guess I can’t get rid of the improvisational nature of my personality, which is why I studied jazz for so many years.
This isn’t always a good strategy for everyone, but it underscores how important it is for any photographer to have a really good grasp of their work, their preferred subjects, and most importantly why they photograph. There is an exercise I recommend to every photographer and you would be amazed at how much you can learn about your creative motivations, and even find some new direction in the process. There’s a great post over on the Pro Nature Photographer website (which I recommend highly) by Brenda Tharp which talks about this exercise – examining our motivations and discovering the gift that is photography and the benefits we all derive from it, including those who purchase prints for their homes or offices.
Becoming as proficient as possible in explaining your work allows you to speak with more authenticity, authority, and ultimately will improve your photography immensely. I know it has for me, an important reason why I love to talk to other photographers, whether personally or in lectures and seminars. I will be giving a free landscape photography seminar soon in my hometown of Beacon, and I’ll post the details here and on my Facebook page in the near future. I’m always available for speaking engagements, so please contact me of you’d like me to speak at an event, whether photography related or otherwise.