If for a moment you consider the requirements for a successful shot as a pyramid, technical requirements will sit at the bottom and as we go up the pyramid, more artistic aspects of photography will be placed.
The environmental, situational, technical and skill-related aspects usually covered first, and as one become a more experienced and knowledgeable, more artistic aspects gradually being covered, to the point one can delegate the technical aspects to muscle memory and focus more on artistic aspects.
I think there’s a clearly defined line where one can be sure that they covered the technical aspects of successfully captured photo. Correct exposure, avoiding unwanted distortion, motion, achieving the desired depth-of-field, focus and sharpness are the basics that can be clearly defined.
However, one can pass all these requirements and yet create technically perfect and boring photographs, just like most of my pictures, and on the other hand, you still can create art without regarding and adhering to all technical considerations. But that doesn’t mean avoiding doing your homework magically make you an artist. Photography can be a chaotic, unpredicted work. Being prepared technically and mentally always help. This reminds me of Machiavelli’s quote in his notorious masterpiece, “The Prince”.
“Fortune can be compared to a river that floods, destroying everything in its way. But when the weather is good, people can prepare dams and dykes to control the flood.”
Machiavelli – The Prince
Looking at the bigger picture, photography, fortunately, is not mostly a one-off experience. Of course, you’ll be going to miss a lot of photographic opportunities as you start your journey, but as you gain more experience, with each photoshoot session you cover more ground, to the level that you can focus on matters that are placed higher on the photography pyramid and think only about them and leave the rest to subconscious and muscle memory. Maybe this approach sounds archaic. I worked all my life just like an artisan in the Renaissance times. I know no shortcuts to greatness.
I’m trying to learn my lesson about the technicalities, and study the possibilities of artistic communication in other people’s words and works. For the moment to arrive, you have to be mentally well prepared and of course, be there.
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