Different Perspective

Two weeks ago I wrote about the need to have a vision – or intent – when we are photographing (or doing any work of art for that matter). I wrote that a photograph without intent won’t convey significance to the viewers. If we start with an idea or are conscious about the reason why we take a photograph, the final result will reflect this vision of ours and be of much more interest than a random captured photograph. As I wrote; photographic vision is how you see life when the camera is put to the eye (se Vision is Beginning for more).

This concept of a vision driven photographer, isn’t the only way to approach photography, though. Of course you may catch a nice photo now and then if you do choose to shoot unconsciously or randomly, but that’s not what I have in mind. The fact is that many different philosophies about the process of taking (or making) photographs exist – probably as many as there are photographers. Although I believe in the vision driven photography, I am always open to other approaches if they can open up for a different way of shooting. As always it’s about expanding and getting out of the box.

One such approach is called contemplative photography. This practise picks up elements of Zen Buddhism and lets the photographer see subject matter differently than at least I would usually do. The word contemplative in general terms means to think things over, but in this case it means «the process of reflection that draws on a deeper level of intelligence than our usual way of thinking», according to the photographers Andy Karr and Michael Wood who practice and teach contemplative photography. In essence contemplative photography is about how to fully connect with the visual richness of our ordinary, daily experience. In many ways it’s a process of learning how to see.

The practise of contemplative photography has three stages. First you catch as sudden glimpse of something that in some way or another connects with you. It can be a beautiful flower or it can be something as mundane as a sink. Beautiful and mundane are actually words that aren’t supposed to be attributed to things according to the idea of contemplative photography, since all things have their own inherent value. Anyway these flashes of perception, as they are called, happen naturally all the time. You cannot make them happen, but you can learn to recognize them. The next stage is called visual discernment and in means to stay or rest with the experience of the perception. There is a holding-still quality to this phase that allows things to emerge, rather than trying to interpret the nature of the perception. The camera doesn’t come into play at all during these two first stages. Only the last stage does involve the camera and taking the picture. It’s called Forming the Equivalent, which means to use the camera to create the equivalent of the perception just experienced.

In contemplative photography the power of the final image comes from joining clear seeing with genuine expression, free from contrivance. To be able to compare with the vision driven approach, I have made a similar process flow as I did in the Vision is Beginning post (the equivalent words from that process are in brackets):

Flash of Perception → Visual Discernment (Reflection) → Forming the Equivalent (Manifestation)

Contemplative photography is an excellent practice for opening up our ability to see. It enhances our vision and it can create some beautiful, reflective and tranquil pictures. However, if you are a sports photographer or shooting any kind of action it might not be the best approach. I still think any photographer can expand his or her photographic vision by practising contemplative photography. Since it’s impossible to give more than an idea about the practice in a post like this, if you are interested in further information, I recommend the book The Practice of Contemplative Photography by aforementioned Andy Karr and Michael Wood. It’s an inspiring book, filled with practical exercises and photographic assignments. Just to be clear about it, I am not a Buddhist myself but I still find this approach very useful in expanding my vision.

Cuban Diary

When I go to Cuba I have made myself a special project. I am doing a visual diary. As mentioned in posts before, I have Cuba as a long term personal project, going there since 1991 most every year. The visual diary I started in 2000. As I am always looking for new ways to approach photography and express my vision – and most of all develop my photographic vision, I try different ways to force myself to go outside of the box, or push myself out of the comfort zone. The Cuba diary is one of those projects that does exactly that.

For this project I have given myself a very limited set of rules I need to comply with. First of all the pictures are shot with an analogue point-and-shoot camera. The reason for me to use film is that I don’t want to give myself the comfort of being able to check the result during the shooting process, as is one of the advantages with digital capture. In addition film has a different quality than digital imagery, and I want to have this old fashion feel to the result. Furthermore I can only take one – 1 – picture a day. No alternative exposures, no changing of the set ups or any back ups at all. It will all have to be there in that first frame. One frame per day while I am in Cuba.

That’s the physical limitations of the project. The pictures themselves are meant to capture my daily life while travelling in Cuba. So it’s really like a personal diary. A project about my own relationship with Cuba and les about Cuba in itself. The one picture a day is supposed to capture the essence of that day in some way or form. Because I am only allowed to shoot one picture each day, I am constantly on alert – whether this very moment is today’s picture or if I should wait for something better later on and then risk having to shoot something worse in the end. It’s quite a mental exercise, and some days actually quite stressful. Part of the deal is that I need to shoot something I don’t usually shoot, or do it in a way I don’t usually do. So it’s all a big experiment on my part, constantly challenging myself.

The pictures here are my visual diary from the latest trip to Cuba a month and a half ago. So instead of posting my «normal» pictures from this trip, I’ll show this special project instead. Because of its limitation and the restrictions I give myself, it’s given that every occation is not going to produce a strong picture. The point for me is really to use this project to push myself, as mentioned before, and that’s why I am showing it here. Maybe by showing it here, it can throw up in the air some ideas for others to pursue.

Out of Comfort Zone

One of the biggest challenges for any photographer – or any artist for that matter – after he or she has found their style, is to keep developing. It’s so easy to fall back on tried and true methods that have proved to be working well for many years. It’s just too easy to stiffening up, creatively speaking. I wrote about this in my post Challenge and Expand about a year ago. Then I mentioned that one of my photographic projects to keep developing myself was – and still is – to photograph my backyard. I have purposefully limit myself so much with this project that I have had to go beyond my usually approach to even get something worth mentioning. Even when it comes to subject-matter this project is way out of my usual comfort zone. It’s been challenging, not in the same way as approaching strangers on the street used to be for me in the beginning which I wrote about in my last post, but in a different way. It’s been challenging because it has forced me to see where I would otherwise not look for pictures, and it’s been challenging because it made me questioning my own confidence in what I was doing. I still feel uncertain about the result, but at least I am happy with one thing: The photographs that so far have come out of the project are quiet different from anything else I shoot. I have posted a handful of them here, all taken over time since I posted Challenge and Expand. I have ambivalent feelings about them, and even feel a little challenged by posting them here, but I think it’s time to let some of them get out in the open. So here there are, a few selected ones: My backyard.

The World Doesn’t Need Another Ansel Adams

«Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.» – Oscar Wilde

We all have our heroes. We all have our role models. Be it in arts or in other aspects of life. And that is all fine. The hardest part, though, is to break ties with those heroes. Particularly in arts. To find our own voice takes courage and determination. It takes consciousness and willingness to do those first stumbling steps on our own. Finding your own voice may take some time to develop. But there is no way around it if your want to become true to your own vocation, if you want to become a true artist. It’s just like the child breaking ties with its parents to become a grown-up himself – or herself.

As artists we have all copied others at some point in our creative training. That’s but natural. We learn by copying. One of the great artists may have been the inspiration for our own pursuit of artistic development. And we may have gained momentum by this artist’s vision. But there comes a time to break away. There comes a time to stand on our own, because we don’t want to remain copycats the rest of our lives. That is when your artistic vision starts to develop, and that’s when you start to develop your own artistic style. If you don’t make this initial break, you will always stay in the shadow of your heroes – and nobody will ever care about your arts. No success of any other artist will help you become successful yourself, no matter how good you are at copying their way of seeing, their way of doing and their way of expressing. If you are as good as Ansel Adams doing what he did, no one will ever see anything but his influence on your work – if at all they will cast a glance on your work.

In his book «The Accidental Creative – How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice», the writer and creative consultant Todd Henry opens the last chapter with the title «Cover Bands Don’t Change the World». The same could be said about any arts – our arts. If we don’t free ourselves from our heroes, we will never be able to impact anyone with our arts; in fact it will hardly be worth the term art at all.

Henry continues: «It’s my desire to continue to strive to find my own voice and to weed out all the places where I’m being “cover-bandish”. This can be very tricky because it often means turning down more work than I accept, but my hope is that the original value that I bring to the clients I chose to work with will create raving “fans” who want to continue to work with me and trust me when I develop new products or ideas.»

Back when I started out pursuing a photographic career one of my heroes was Ansel Adams. I thought his black and white landscape pictures spoke directly to my heart. I was very impressed with his way of bringing out details and tones in all parts of the landscape and his dramatic visual language. He inspired me to learn about the Zone System – and needless to say, my pictures started to look very much like his – if far from as good. In my case breaking loose happened by itself, simply because I lost interest in landscape pictures and moved on to other fields. Of course I found other role models, but then I was already more conscious about my own vocation and my own way of seeing.

Last week the blogger Marina Chetner referred to a quote by a bigger than life photographer, which I would like to copy (no pun intended) from her since it’s very relevant to my point:

Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even if it’s clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work. – William Klein.

A little diversion; last month the magazine Wired had an article about 10 photographs one should ignore. One of them was no other than Ansel Adams. The writer Blake Andrews wrote about him: «Adams created some remarkable images and he wrote the book (literally) on photographic technique. Yet on the whole he’s probably done more harm than good for photography. How many young photographers have fussed over which zone to put the shadows in while the light fades and the photo disappears? More importantly, how many perfectly exposed black and white vistas of snow-capped peaks or rivers snaking into the background do we need to see? Yes, nature is majestic. We get it. Saint Ansel showed us, and he did it better than you ever will, so move on already or we’ll score your performance as a negative.» Point made, I should add.

To sum up my point then: The world doesn’t need another Ansel Adams. It needs a genuine you.

Live Your Photographs

Why is it that some photographers are able to come up with wonderful and engaging pictures even about the smallest trivial details that most of us wouldn’t even consider worth a picture – not only once in a while, but again and again? While others make nice, well composed pictures about important and presumably engaging subjects, but still never manage to engage with their pictures? What is the secret of the profound artistry of the former? The answer of course isn’t a simply list of properties an upcoming photographer – or any artist for that matter – needs to learn and understand about her trade to excel. It’s probably a little more complex than that. Nevertheless I don’t think there are any secrets to the engaging artist, although it’s still a kaleidoscope of characteristics that goes along with artistic excellence.

For one, the photographer who manage to engage us with his pictures, has found his own style, not by specific techniques or postproduction manipulation, but coming naturally from within – as I wrote about in my previous posting. Another feature about the engaging photographer is that she herself is engaged in what she photographs. I think this is something we all need to learn. We need to have interest in what we photograph; we need to feel that our subject is something or someone we can relate to ourselves. What we really need is to want to photograph, not for economic reasons, for fame, for stock, for publishing reasons, for someone else, but because the picture matter to ourselves. The reason? The engaging picture is actually a picture of ourselves. It reflects our own life.

If you feel that your pictures are boring and not engaging, maybe it’s because you life isn’t as exciting as you really want it to be? I repeat again; our pictures reflect of own life. Mind you, I am not talking about the grand expedition, being the big adventurer or living la vida loca, but really just living the life that is fulfilling to you. If you thrive with home sweet home, that’s where you will find your pictures, those pictures that will engage all of us, too. Ernest Hemingway once said «In order to write about life, first you must live it!» If you exchange the word write with photograph, you will get the equivalent for us photographers. Of course it’s not easy to live up to Hemingway’s way of living the grand life, but that’s not the point. The point really is; if you want to tell something as an artist, you need to live it. You are your photographs – no matter what you actually photograph. If your pictures are boring your life is probably boring, too – for yourself.

That’s where I started out myself. I was good with the technical part of photography. I was good with composing pictures. I had a good eye for light. But I never really engaged anyone with my pictures. It all changed when I started to travel for real, meaning going to countries and places that aren’t made for mass tourism. I started to relate to people on the places I travelled to, and I discovered I enjoyed meeting people. That’s when my pictures switched from beautiful and boring landscape and nature copies to more interesting human stories. And that’s still how it goes. I love photographing people, I love the meeting, I love the interaction, and I love to understand a little bit more about human life. Back then travelling was in many ways just the catalyst, not really a requirement for my engagement. Not any more at least. Today my photos certainly don’t have to be taken in far-away places any more. They might just as well be of my love ones close to me and in my own neighbourhood. It’s not about place – for me – but about people.

I am still an avid outdoor guy, but somehow I have never been able to connect my passion for nature and photography. It also has to be said, that barely any other nature photography – at least the traditional National Geographic kind of nature photography – manages to engage me. Somehow I have to find a way, my own way. But this is something I will get back to in another posting.

Don’t Chase Style

A personal style is like a signature for any photographer. As we at a young age set out on our photographic endeavour this easily becomes a major mantra, and we start searching for our own style. We think we can skew the horizon, and that becomes our style. We think we can make dark and mysterious pictures, and that becomes our style. We think we can increase the colour saturation or do some other post production trick and that becomes our style.

I remember at one point I became very good with my handheld flash, I would even say I became an expert getting the most out of this devise that many photographers otherwise struggle with. Particularly I got very enthusiastic about the result from using open flash. In the end all my picture ended up being shot with open flash. Open flash became my style – or so I thought back then. But I was only fooling myself. I finally realized that style is not something we force our pictures through, like a filter or some magic transformation, in order for it to become «our» signature. Instead of becoming a signature, it becomes a limitation. When my mantra was open flash, I stop looking for other qualities of light that could be used – and better used in many occasions – in my pictures. My craving for a personal style turned in to a self-inflicted inhibition.

Yes, we can impose various styles on our pictures, and should do so to enhance whatever we try to tell with the pictures. But that isn’t the same as a personal style. It’s just using tools we have to our disposal. Chasing style in one way or another is never going to give us a personal signature. There isn’t any quick-fix to the outcome. Style comes with time, and it comes from within. When we stay honest, authentic and true to ourselves in the way we photograph, over time our style will crystallize and become apparent. We get a signature that is not depending on various tricks and enhancements, but is by character a reflection of ourselves. With time we develop our vision – we look for certain aspects of life and emotions and graphical qualities that we related to, and this vision again will develop our personal style. The more conscious we become about our vision, the more clearly our personal style will develop. Style is – put simple – an outcome of becoming aware of our vision.

As for me, open flash has long time ago ceased to be the all-encompassed answer to my lighting needs. As a matter of fact I hardly use flash any more. Today I prefer available light, which is so much more varied and full of depth and tonality than anything I could do with a flash. Still, available light hasn’t become «my» signature, I still use flash when I think it’s appreciate or when it will enhance the visual expression in my pictures.

From the Inside Out – or Visa Versa?

As any creative beings, be it photographers or any other artists, it’s easy to stir up some emotions when we talk about the personal approach to our own art. For some it’s all based within us, for other it’s all about tuning into the subject itself with the intention of revealing the true matter of the subject. Impressionists would certainly belong to the former group, while postmodernists would more likely be associated with the latter. I myself simply believe we cannot escape ourselves no matter what. We will always impose whatever we are in the art we make, to a lesser or larger degree – as far as I am concerned.

When I announced my posting Me, Myself and I on the Facebook site for Verve Photo – The New Breed of Documentary Photographers, it caused a few comments there. I thought it could be interesting to forward a couple of them with a handful of additional comments by myself. The initial positioning in my original posting was that I believe that the strongest photographs are those which the photographer has engraved with his or her personal vision – in a natural way, without any presumptions. In contrast the photographer Bob Krist, whom I quoted, has stated that «far too many photographers out there are laboring under the false assumption that their personal vision is worth sharing».

As one of the first comment on the Verve Photo – The New Breed of Documentary Photographers Facebook site after my posting, Yves Choquette writes: «We always impose our vision in a way or another, no? If I’m on assignment and shooting a tea party meeting, even if I’m there to report the event to a newspaper, the fact that I think they are just a bunch of retard morons is there inside of me. When I read or hear that a photographer take photos in a complete neutrality that does not make any sense for me except if he’s a robot or google cams. Of course you have to be honest and shooting what is actually happening. But, you accept it or not, something inside of you is driving and influencing your behaviour and this is ok. We are human being after all, no?»

Another comment by David Weiss: «You will always place, add, impose a personal vision. That is what any artist does. No? Yves is correct. Imagery is about how you perceive things and how one (you) makes the magic happen within the 4 bounding lines of the image. No different than a painter – you take into consideration the light, your position, the subject or protagonist (and the protagonist can be you) and you define the language to codify and freely allow the viewer to re-codify your images. Just be!»

I totally agree with both comments. We cannot escape ourselves so to speak. That’s my basic belief. That said, though, I think it’s not enough to just shoot and believe our presence will show up in the pictures by itself, at least not enough if the intention is to make a photograph that reveals your innermost soul. We have to invest ourselves in the creative process; we have to be engaged to make those pictures stand out. If we don’t bring ourselves into the picture, for me it’s like saying you have nothing you want to tell with this picture. If I matters to you, I want to see how it matters, and why it does. By the way you shoot the picture, through the timing, your choice of the light, graphics, and the emotional impact as well as how you have treated it in postproduction. I want to see you personal vision imprinted in the picture, so that it becomes a picture just as much about you – or your vision – as much as about the subject matter. It’s the combination that makes for an interesting picture, something I want to spend time looking at and returning to. And then as a viewer I want to take it any way I want to and reinterpret it to my own liking.

The Courage to Create

As photographers we all want to be creative. For me understanding creativity or more correctly to explore the realms of creativity is so important that I even have created (excuse the pun) a blog about it. Thus this site; where the main theme basically is creativity; that is finding out what creativity really is, how the creative process works and how we can stimulate this creative process in our work. I have no answers to post but I am just trying to walk this road of more or less unknown territory of which we all have so many views, some more qualified than others. Of course creativity is the driving force behind our attempts to make lasting images, to articulate our innermost thoughts, dreams, worries, concerns or ideas of the world through the language of photography (since we after all are talking about photography here), it’s the driving force with which we express ourselves and what we as human beings stand for. But it’s also intimidating – at least can be at times. When we try to force or squeeze creativity into being, when we so want to be creative that instead it vanishes into thin air, then it becomes an inhibition. Because we cannot force it, we can’t even think about it while being in the moment of creation, without it fading away. It’s like a divine spirit, it’s there but we can’t capture it, and the more we try the more it will slip away instead. When we really try to be creative, that is when we are the least. But with trust, patience, honesty and humility, and without expectations, the divine spirit of creativity eventually will show up – for all of us. The excellent photographer David duChemin talks a lot about the muse in his blog (and if you haven’t checked it out yet, I strongly recommend you to do so here). One place he writes: «Don’t worry about getting inspired, being original, or any of the other things that haunt the creative mind. The muse will show up, she always does».

But what is this muse? What is creativity? Many bright minds have spent long hours trying to find an answer. Some might have come very close, not necessarily all by themselves, but their combined wisdom does say quite a bit about this very abstract and yet so very forceful spirit. As for myself I only know that creativity is an underlying, in-dwelling force infusing all of life, included ourselves. A lot of us lose contact with this creative force, though, when we grow out of childhood. And why should we bother about it? Why even try to ride this power that can be so evasive and so demanding? «Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money», according to Brenda Uelanda, now passed away journalist, editor, freelance writer, and teacher of writing, best known for her book If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit. Or as the writer and poet Alain Arias-Misson puts it: «The purpose of art is not a rarefied, intellectual distillate – it’s life, intensified, brilliant life».

One more thing I know about creativity: It doesn’t come by itself. You can’t sit down and wait for creativity. The only way it shows up is by working, and usually by working hard. Not only do we have to work and work hard, but for the muse to really show up, we have to challenge ourselves during the work, we have to go down that road we don’t even dare to. Such as George Bernard Shaw stated in a letter to the violinist Jascha Heifetz, that the authentic creation is an active battle with the gods. In other words; to be creative takes courage. The American existential psychologist Rollo May has written a very reflective and philosophical book about this, called nothing but The Courage to Create. In this book May not only elaborates on the courage to create, but also tries to define what creativity is – and strongly connects it with the same courage: «The Creative Courage is the discovery of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which society can be built», all according to Rollo May. Of course it’s a very intellectual statement, but I still find it compelling. Anyway, according to him the fundamental purpose of the creative process is to express one’s inner vision and the spiritual meaning or understanding of one’s culture. For me this is really the driving force behind what we do. Why we photograph, or paint, dance, compose, sing, perform or whatever we do. Creativity is, put simple, bringing something new into being. The reward itself. A reward, though, that it will only come to us if we don’t force it, if we let it come to us, through work and an open mind.

In many ways it’s just like love, isn’t it?

Me, Myself and I

As part of my everlasting search for understanding and learning more about creative processes, I read as many books that potentially have some insight to the subject, as I possibly can. I read photo books and I read books that are not related to photo at all – as long as there is a prospect of expanding my knowledge about creativity and how it works. Some time ago I read a book about travel photography with the lovely title Spirit of Place. Unfortunately it was less about creativity than I had hoped for. Still it was a fine book, written by Bob Krist by the way, a photographer who among other publications shoots for National Geographic Traveler and Travel and Leasure. It’s a very concrete and practical book, absolutely worth while reading particularly by the travel photographer to be. Lots of useful guidelines, even though some of the technical information is obsolete due to the fact that the book was written before the digital era (it was published in 2000 and is now out of print, but still available second hand).

A few statements Krist brings about in his introduction have warranted some thoughts on my part, since they address directly a lot of how I see the creative process being implemented in photography. Among other assertions Bob Krist writes that «far too many photographers out there are laboring under the false assumption that their personal vision is worth sharing. In too many cases, this assumption is used to cover up the lack of craft». He also writes: «Unfortunately, this emphasis on “Me” is rampant in photography today. It is the reason that much of what is passed off as travel photography is not about the place at all. It is about the photographers and their alleged “personal vision”. I can’t help but agree with Bill Jay when he says, “Most photographers would do the world a favor by diminishing, not augmenting, the role of self, and as much as possible, emphasizing subject alone”».

In contradiction to what Krist deems I believe the strongest pictures always bring the photographer into being. It’s his or her vision that makes them different from similar pictures taken by other photographers. It’s the photographer’s personal involvement with the subject that makes the photographs stand out. It’s through his or her way of seeing the world and the subject at hand that gives the pictures that little extra which sparks the interest and involvement by the viewer. If you as a photographer aren’t involved and get emotionally engaged in what you photograph, the pictures are most likely going to be awfully boring. If you want your photos to have an emotionally impact on others, then you better expect to be emotionally involved yourself. Does this mean that a good picture has to have an emotional impact on viewers? My answer is an unequivocal yes. Even good travel photographs – since that is what Bob Krist writes about in his book after all. There are so many pictures out in the world today that only those which somehow have a more than transient impact on us, will be the ones standing out of the crowd.

With this said I also believe that the personal vision is less something that a photographer sits down and plans how it should be, than something that develops over time. Otherwise it becomes a cover up, not necessarily out of lack of craft as Krist states, but of a true personal style founded on the very essence that is the photographer. As Bob Krist writes himself: «Rather than worrying about whether your vision is personal, you should make sure that it is sensitive, informed, and well crafted». I can only agree with him, so maybe our way of seeing the creative process isn’t that far apart at all, maybe it’s only semantic. As he also says: «The very act of framing a photograph in a camera’s viewfinder is an exercise in personal vision. If you make photographs, you are in fact expressing a “personal” vision». This goes exactly along my lines of thoughts as expressed in my post Everything Has Already Been Done.

My point, really, is that as a photographer you need to pick subjects that engage you. By doing so, your personal vision will be clearly expressed almost by itself. And it’s this personal vision that makes the photographs stand out from the crowd.

By the way Bill Jay is one of the most influential British photographers, widely published and exhibited, who has written numerous books and is extensively used as a lecturer. The book On Being a Photographer written together with David Hurn is one of the best out there about the creative process in photography.

Shots from my Hip

Lately I have been pondering about what to think of the Hipstamatic – as a professional photographer that is. Your know that fun app that makes pictures taken with the iPhone look very retro, as if they were shot with one of those cheap and technically obsolete analogue cameras such as a Lomo, a Diana, a Holga or a Polaroid instant camera. I actually love the Hipstamatic look, the skewed colours, the chromatic aberration it emulates, the vignetting, the harsh contrasts and so on, the final look of course depending on the settings when applying the app. It’s real fun to use, and it makes the photos look great. It seems like anything can be taken with the Hipstamatic app and made into a cool or interesting photo. The question I have been pondering about then is whether these are actually my pictures. Can I really claim any honour, so to speak – as a photographer and thus, can I use the Hipstamatic look as one of many tools when I decide which style I want for a given photograph, I mean when I am the «serious photographer» and not just out there having fun? The dilemma is that I feel I have no influence about the look, well, that is of course not quite true since you have a lot of variables you can tweak, but it’s still a much automated process. Point being, isn’t it still more the app than the photographer him- or herself that makes the photos? Or maybe it’s just too easy to take cool pictures? Is that it?

When I get this far in my thought-process I have to stop myself. It makes me sound like any old, conservative, stock-in-the-past, everything-was-much-better-before craftsman of a photographer, who complains about any development in the trade. Because that’s really been photography’s sword of Damocles throughout the whole history of the craft. Every new development has raised grumbles from those who knew the old way – and thus knew better, all the way back to when photography came into being. Back then is was actually painters who complained about photography, that it would destroy the painting as a craft. In modern times it was PhotoShop that destroyed the old printing craft, or the advanced digital technology that made it possible for everybody to become a photographer without knowing anything at all, or nowadays when every amateur can make his or her own video. Where will this end? It will bring the craft down and out forever. And now we even got the Hipstamatic app! Of course all those grumpy, old men (because it’s mostly been grumpy, old men) are wrong and have always been. The development of the craft has never taken away the artistic skills needed for making interesting expressions. It’s true, it’s never been as easy as today to photograph, but still it’s just as hard to make photos that speak to the viewer, that give you that deep understand of life, that bring pictures into life. And so it is with the Hipstamatic app, I must believe. Right now it’s the cool thing, that everybody wants to use, that makes every photo look interesting. But of course to make photographs that breathe and will last, you still need to bring a vision and a personal investment into the making of the pictures. It isn’t too easy, not even when using the Hipstamatic app.

Still I haven’t convinced myself completely about this even though the argument sounds like the politically right thing to say. But I don’t want to be or become and old, grumpy man, so what the heck, I am going to stop pondering about the dilemma. I am just gonna go out there and have some fun when shooting – using the Hipstamatic app.

Other blogs with fun postings about Hipstamatic:
Comforting Photograph for Tea Lovers

Hipstamatic Snail
Instagram and Hipstamatic
You gotta walk that lonesome valley, and you gotta walk, walk it by yourselfHipstamatic Week 42