If you know how to use your camera, you know how to use your brain. Really, think about it! Photography and therefore a camera are all about perception. So is your brain. And so is your whole life. It’s all about perception. And the fact, that there is a world that cannot ever be percieved in total. We only perceive a certain, very small amount, of what there really is. Like, tiny! So tiny it almost doesn’t exist! But what we do perceive is not at all a result of coincidence. No Sir! It’s a decision. Thing about it though: mostly we decide without knowing it. Unconsciously. That’s why we believe it’s coincidence. In order to decide consciously what we want to let into our brain, what we want to let our brain process and what we want to express, we can learn that by using a camera.
We decide what picture we want to take. We can have an idea beforehand or we go out and take a look. Both approaches have their merrits and their limitations. The first one makes us blind to other and maybe even better opportunities. The second one makes us reactive. Sometimes a mix of both is perfect. As in real life. If we’re too determined on certain goals, be can miss other, better chances. If we don’t have any goals, we are constantly reactive and so give up our power to coincidence or other people.
We have our motive. Now we want to compose a picture. We decide upon the lighting, the angle, the colors. No two people will take the same picture of one motive. That’s because we perceive, process and express it differently. One person sees a flower and decides about its species. That person will take a picture that shows the plant’s characteristics so that it will be recognized. The other person wants to document the time of year and someone else takes an arty approach and depicts the flower totally different. In between those examples are thousands of shades and other ideas. That’s why every photograph is unique. And so is every view of a situation. So it’s always a good idea to know your own default setting and how that affects your perception of the world.
But wait! There’s also the hardware. Cameras are different. There are different types and even the same types have different features and possibilities of perception, processing and expressing. Even if you know how to handle them all, you will not always use them all. You will adapt to the situation as wall as to your preference. So you do in life. You have many ways to act and react, but you will use the ones you always use in combination with the ones a situation requires. Sometimes it’s good to try something new. That widens our repertoire.
Still there is the hardware itself. And the brain itself. Not being an engineer for cameras you wouldn’t know much about the hardware itself. Just as not being a neurologist you won’t know much about the brain itself. Still we use both. So there is always a certain degree of non-knowledge in the process. More so with the brain than with the camera. Because Photography Journals are easier to read than articles in Neurologists Monthly. Well, for most people. Also, a camera is limited. The brainpower is not. But everyone who wants to be a photographer will eventually need to learn about the technical side of it. And will find pleasure in doing so. That’s the difference in life. Because mostly we don’t want to use our brain expertly. It’s clear, however, that this is necessary if we want to take charge of our life and be the captain of our own boat. So get an instructions manual for your brain (there are many!) and get started!
We have taken the picture and will now go on to modify it, print it or publish it otherwise. We categorize it into a certain genre. We have certain recipients in mind. So we try and make sure we get the pictures to them. Blogreaders, potential buyers, clients in a homestyling boutique, people looking for beautiful postcards or for picture that highlight their texts. Maybe even for a publisher and so on. The recommendation usually is to do what you love, to be authentic and to send it out. It will find its audience. So there’s two aspects. The be-authentic-part is pretty important. Because a picture can seem stiff if you did it because you had to and turn people off. So will you yourself. Being authentic in life is not the easiest task in the world and it takes some time and quite a number of instruction manuals for your brain to get there. Same goes for photography, if you think about it. But it’s equally important to know your audience – as a photographer as well as simply you. Be your best self and at the same time take responsibility for what you send out to others. You wouldn’t send an architectural picture to the publishers of garden manuals – unless you’d specialize in greenhouses – would you? So don’t send out sexual advice to a nun. You know what I mean.
The next time you take a photo, think about the analogy to your life. Do you perceive life with the same care you perceive your objects? Do you decide as consciously and carefully what you let into your brain as you decide what you let into your camera and on your computer? Wonder if you carefully modify your thoughts as you process your pictures in photoshop? And do you only give the very best of yourselve out to others as you would with your photos?
Well, I for my part will need some more camera-training and today I need lightness. So there you go 😉
By the way: In today’s preparation of this post I found the book: Photography as Meditation (click). If you are interested in this approach to photography, you might consider acquainting yourself with Zen Photography as a genre. It’s very interesting!