The Thinking Photographer
There is a skill, which may be learned very quickly, which results in immediate improvement of photographs. It is guts. Throw away your sense of embarrassment and go out and make photographs the way you would even if nobody was watching.
There are two kinds of courage required: the first is the kind that lets you look foolish. Lay down on the ground in a public place if you need a low angle; pull your car over to the side of a busy highway and climb onto the roof; ask a total stranger if you can make their picture. This first kind of courage helps you get better photographs.
The second kind of courage helps you show photographs that are unconventional. Don't be afraid to be different. Believe it or not, when you take a picture of someone, that person does not have to smile. The Kodak police will not take you away. You can even get more radical: a portrait from the back; a portrait without a person.
When you start making photographs that deviate from expectations, people will not understand you. It will take time for your naive viewers to realize that you are recording something other than a superficial portrait. Go after the personality of the subject. Be true to the subject and don't worry about the expectations of your audience.
© Copyright 1999 Brian R. Page