|Is this a "good" photograph?
Why can't I seem to come up with a good answer to this seemingly simple question?
It seems that more than ever, when I'm out and about with friends or family with a camera, I'm always asked one simple question: "Did you get any good pictures?"
Unfortunately, this question bugs the heck out of me, because I don't quite really know how to answer it. I think many of the people that ask me this know that I'm a pretty good photographer. My work has been displayed across Ohio, and I've made a nice supplementary income licensing images via Istock. Why the heck are people asking me if I got any good pictures? Yes, it's true that sometimes I come back with images that just didn't work, BUT, when I'm out photographing, I don't click the shutter unless I think what I'm seeing will make a good picture..
I'm not looking to make good pictures- I'm looking to make great photographs. I desire to create something that will capture one's glance for more than a second or so- I'm looking to produce the best photographs I've ever created. There is a deliberate process that I go through to make these image. I'm not just blindly pointing the camera "hoping" that I get a "good" photograph. And herein lies why this question just simply bugs the heck out of me.
How should I answer this question, I suppose, would be the more appropriate question. I have come to understand that anyone asking me if I took any good photographs is opening up an opportunity for casual conversation. I've not been able to recognize this, and instead, I'll give sort of smart ass quip like "always" or a response that will certainly end the conservation- something like: "I'm not really sure until I get back and view the images on the computer.
But as a photographer who is trying to capture the world and share my experiences through photography, I simply need to pounce upon the opportunity to explain what I'm seeing and why it is important. Instead of scoffing at this question- I need to realize that those asking are generally interested in how I see the world and what I'm photographing. I need to embrace the question and give answers like - "you know, this is just an incredible place to be, so much is going on here, beautiful light, beautiful people, beautiful photographic subjects, that I just feel compelled to explore and express my experiences with the camera".
It is only that when I begin to embrace the question "did you get any good pictures?" that I will ever become truly successful in sharing my vision with others.
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