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There’s a huge difference between a great photograph of a place and a great photograph. One draws your attention to a location or a subject where as the other generates a visceral and emotional response. In this age of amazing digital cameras and associated software and techniques capable of producing “perfect” exposures, all we are left with is what truly matters in any creative endeavor – a human expression of what you think and feel, an opinion.

For me, fine art photography is all about an opinion – and if I don’t have one about my subject, then it will be very difficult if not impossible to get others to feel something about my work. This has huge implications when I exhibit my work at art shows or galleries. Typically it is the images I feel most strongly about that seem to sell the best. By strongly I don’t mean that I like the image, but rather that I have a very strong feeling about what I photographed.

The subjects and places that inspire me the most are the ones I want to visit, tell others about, and of course photograph. Without that special motivation, I am just taking snapshots – something my camera, and all modern cameras these days, can do fantastically well.

Do you feel strongly about what you photograph? Do you feel something special when you look at the art you have on your walls? Ask yourself these questions the next time you are at an art show – either selling your work, or looking for a photograph to hang in your home.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Great thoughts Robert.

    I’m reading an excellent book right now called “Within The Frame” by the photographer David duChemin and he echoes this same type of sentiment in there. By the way, if anyone is interested, this is a really interesting book. Very down to earth and insightful. Well written…

    I continue down my path to find my vision and my true photographic passions. It takes a long time to get there, but the journey is fun…

    1. @John – Thanks for the feedback John – I have read several of David’s books and they are all great, have learned much- I recommend them highly. Focusing on the process and journey of your own creativity is really the key to sustaining the motivation. So often photographers get caught in trying to reach some ideal that they don’t allow the flow of the moment to influence their vision. For example, so often I have taught workshops where students were so focused on a particular composition that they miss a completely different opportunity right in front of them. If you focus on allowing inspiration to happen naturally, then you’ll be moved emotionally by a scene and that is one key to improving your photographic vision.


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