Here a few weeks ago, I was riding my bike around my area with my camera, just off to capture what ever I felt the need to. It's a ritual that all photographers are familiar with. It's important that we stay in a creative head space throughout our lives, as goes with any form of dedication to a passion, or an art. We have to stay driven, and we have to discipline ourselves to think creatively, and differently. It's not easy, but it sure is fun. And I love it.
As I was riding my bike, I ran across a few skaters doing their thing. I decided to trail them a bit, just to get a glimpse of what they're about.
I continued on, and rounded a corner, and ran into them on accident, and it hit me.
"If I'm to be a photographer, I'm to be a people's person. Someone who can approach anyone, and any situation, and make something beautiful. Something I can be proud of, and share with others. If I'm to discipline myself this way, I should approach these people and introduce myself. What's the worst that could happen? This is a decent neighborhood and the tallest one is only taller than me by an inch or two."
So, I stopped my bike, waved and said hello. They all in unison waved and said hello back. I walked up to the closest of the three to me and shook his hand and introduced myself, being sure to take off my jacket, and place my camera on top. Hopefully he notices and brings it up. Otherwise I'll have to risk making things strange for him, and bringing it up. I wouldn't want him to think that my only intention was to take pictures of him right off the bat. I'd sure be creeped out if I were in that position.
"Oh, that's a nice camera. You into film making?" "Oh haha! Photography actually. It's a passion of mine."
Throughout the conversation, I made a point to smile, compliment and genuinely appreciate his skills with his board. I need this group to appreciate my presence before I ask anything of them.
"Would you guys want some pictures taken? For your Instagram or such?" Little did they know I really would love some photos for myself. "That would be sweet actually. We're trying to get our names out there a bit, anyway. And this should be really helpful."
The conversation was a bit longer than that, but I think I've made my point.
Three boys all just older than myself and I then spent about an hour and a half going from spot to spot, doing whatever tricks or poses we could muster. After every photo, the three of them would come around to the back of my camera and see what we got, until at some point my battery died so I told them to give me their Instagram user names and I'll send them the photos later on.
We've agreed since to meetup again, but this time they'll pay me a bit and we will spend a bit more time and give a bit more effort into getting some shots. Because for the most part, we were just toying around. I'd like to see what the four of us could actually muster, given proper equipment and patience.
I've attached some of the photos, but the point of this post is this.
Any art, and the craft that is photography extends far beyond knowing the ins and outs of your tools/your camera.
Taking quality stills, and capturing life in a way that you think highlight, and makes clear it's beauty requires much more than that.
You need to love people, love life, and love interacting and toying with it. You need to love capturing it to share with others, you need to be passionate about finding something beautiful and sharing it, you need to know what you consider to be beautiful and what strikes you as real and appealing.
You need to know yourself in order to be a quality photographer, because once you do, you can't take a single image without leaving a piece of yourself behind it. A story to be told in every photo.
What makes a good artist in any craft is passion, determination and discipline, expression, and above all else, skill. I'm yet to consider myself an artist, but I do take photos that I love.
That day, I toyed with life a bit, and found myself a new set of photos to be proud of.
And they're pretty stinking cool haha!
Below I've attached my favorite photo from the "shoot". Check it out.