I take a lot of photos. I think of myself as one of many who have been fortunate enough to live in a time where taking a picture, of anything, is easier than ever before. And not just one. You could max out the storage on your phone taking thousands of photos. This is yet another result of the creative excess provided in the digital age and I often wonder if I am using this ability to its fullest potential.
I take photos of a variety of things. People in my life, places that I go, moments that simply scream out to be captured. Very often I do exactly what David duChemin suggests against in his list featured in this week’s reading; I use my camera “like a rapid-fire machine gun,” taking a lot of photos in quick succession to capture an action or moment as it evolves over time. I think this is a result of my background in filmmaking. Many times I have collected footage for a project of some kind and later, while editing, have found myself with a lack of options with which to work. It has since become ingrained in me to always capture more than I think I need because I always end up needing more. As a result, I often dive into a scene, snapping as much as I can, not entirely aware in the moment what my results are, and then only after the fact do I review the collection of photos and choose the best.
In reading the ‘story behind the photo’ about Dorothea Lange’s iconic Migrant Mother, I found it fascinating to consider the process involved in taking even just one picture and the idea that it could be so arduous that she would contemplate quitting prematurely. Especially when factoring in the limited amount of resources at her disposal during that journey, it becomes all the more impressive that she could capture what she did and with such artfulness. I feel that most of my artistic process in the digital age has been finding self-imposed confines to work within so that I do not lose myself to the self-indulgence that comes with infinite capabilities. I find this especially true with the amateur photography in which I engage. For the betterment of its artfulness and for the sake of my phone storage, I should hope I can gain a more discerning eye going forward.