13 Dec 2007

Making picture happen

I don’t get nearly as much time as I would like to do talks for camera clubs. A great shame because I love the contact with all those keen photographers. I’ve just done a talk at the Ayr Photographic Society and what a smashing and receptive group of people they proved to be.

The theme was ‘Making Pictures Happen’. It’s a subject that can raise eyebrows among those purist photographers who claim never to ‘interfere’ with a subject in order to create a picture. I’ve heard lots of ‘precious’ photographers spouting this clap-trap over the years. Professionally they don’t usually last very long. They spend a lot of time mincing about and telling picture editors how gifted they are, but when it comes right down to getting out there and producing the goods, they are soon found lacking.

There are countless ways a photographer can have an influence on a picture in order to make something special happen: from subtle alterations of position to improve composition, to actually getting someone to do something within the shot.

The iconic picture of Freddie Mercury did not just happen. It was made to happen with Freddie’s total co-operation. We planned the shot together in every detail before we did it. My silhouette picture of the man and the cart horse is a very different style, but again, it was planned and executed with the complete co-operation of the man in the picture. So if ever you are tempted to get sniffy about ‘making pictures happen’ just think of all the wonderful pictures you’ll never take.

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