Rants and Sermons

Apr 9th


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CategoryPosted in: Just For Fun, Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons

More Funny Business.


Last Friday’s post on what photographers can learn from comedians has become – in one week! – the most popular post on this blog. Something struck a chord, I guess. Or it was the green suit. Possibly both. So here’s a couple more, picking up the thread where I left off, to bring us to 10.

8. Timing is everything.
It’s true. The difference between a chuckle and shooting milk out the nose is often one beat. So it is with the photograph. Timing matters. We deal in fragments of time and slivers of light. How long those fragments are is often left to the brain of the camera, but which second you choose, that’s our job and the difference between a snapshot and an icon can be one beat, one fraction of a second, one indecisive moment.

9. Improvisation is key.
Things don’t go to plan. The audience heckles, the joke falls flat, the prop fails, the mic cuts out. The ability of a comic to seize these things and turn them into momentum rather than inertia is what makes a pro. Same with photography. The subject gets shy, resistant, hostile. The camera coughs, sputters, and dies. The flash fails. The light is going faster than you can shoot. The ability to turn these obstacles into part of the creative mix instead of whining and finding excuses, is what makes a pro.

10. Know your audience.
You don’t do blue material for children. (I didn’t do blue material at all. Green material, always) You don’t do your fart jokes for seniors. Different things are funny to different people. Knowing your audience means being able to make them laugh harder. Photography, and any form of communication, is this way too. The more you know what you are trying to communicate, whether it’s a thought, a key benefit, an emotion – and to whom, the better able you are to create a successful image. Sure you shoot for the edit, and you shoot the brief, but the more you know your client, your market, and the end viewer, the more successful your image will be.

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed these. But don’t get too attached to this fusion of my current life and my past, we’re movin’ on, baby!
Photo credit: Kevin Clark. Last week’s shot as well.

Apr 8th


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CategoryPosted in: Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons

Know Your Place, Part Two

I alluded yesterday to the tendency of photographers, particularly working photographers who endeavor to do this for a living and therefore feel the stakes are higher, to compete with each other. Few things kill the creative spirit so efficiently. We become photographers, most of us, because in this craft we discover a means of expression […]

3 Ideas

I know the title of this post is lame. Sorry. And the photograph has nothing whatsoever to do with the post. Them’s the breaks. Lamayuru, Ladakh, India, 2008. I sat with two friends yesterday for lunch. Hamburgers at the Red Onion in Vancouver. One of these friends is easily one of the most accomplished magicians […]

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