Why and How: Developing a Photographic Consciousness – Part 1
Your passion may lie in terrestrial or underwater photography. Or perhaps photography is your hobby, a way to relax and escape the stress of your daily activities.
You may have reached the limits of your creativity, and yet, desire to expand your level of expertise in techniques and creativity.
However, you cannot define what it is that you need to embark into greater unknown photographic territory. Perhaps one path you have not explored is the development of your photographic consciousness. This path may enable you to accomplish your goal of expansion.
In this article, I will give you some tips to help you better define your photographic consciousness, thus allowing you to venture to heights in your artistic creativity.
Photography Can Become a Real-Life Project
Nature photography, like many photographic domains, can be considered an ongoing, realistic project of life.
It can give meaning, profoundly directing your existence.
This occurrence happened to me many years ago before I became a professional photographer.
I worked for twelve years as a computer engineer. I worked as a design and development engineer, project manager, and then project leader of an IT department. Nevertheless, I continued to question my purpose. Why should I create temporary applications that I knew would only last a few years? These applications would surely disappear with the emergence of new technology. At each technological transition, everything had to be restarted: the analysis, development, and production. What was my purpose in this process of cycles aside from correctly creating meaning in my life? I do not regret working in those positions, because I learned a lot about organization and methodology. However, I discovered that I was constantly racing against the clock to meet deadlines.
In my free time, I practiced photography. During these hours spent in the field, I found peace, rest, and the serenity to truly question myself.
Naturally, I decided to connect my professional activity and my passion for photography. My goal was to create something that would last in time. I desired to create something that I would not have to question the validity and relevance of every two or three years.
I envisioned my long-term future with the possibility of leaving a trace or a brick in this huge building that we call “humanity”.
I found my real-life project.
Understand Photographic Time
I started working for magazines or photo stock agencies. Quickly, I fell back into the trap of my previous professional activity: I finished productions more and more quickly while adapting to the demand and evolution of the market.
After five years of intense work and despite the impressive income being earned, I decided not to continue. Instead, I turned to artistic photography.
Today, when I log in to my Instagram account or my Facebook account, I notice that 95% of the photographs are completed with mobile phones.
I have the impression that photographs are snapped, uploaded, and consumed like a quick meal in the fast food industry. Nothing is crafted to last. Nothing is completed that will greatly enrich humanity. Most of the photographs posted are made by individuals who disregard the concept of creating a brick in the building of humanity.
In these moments of scrolling through images, I feel as if I am reliving my years as a computer engineer or stock-photo photographer for magazines.
All social media photos are taken in a hurry so that they are the first to be seen by the general public. It is a real race against time for those posting on social networks.
Why do all these people fail to realize that it is time for them to rethink their photographic process? Why do they not consider the product value that could increase if they used their photographic time?
For me, this expression of “photographic time” means “to think about real photo projects and real creations”. Authenticity is crucial. It is important to take the time to pause and consider options when publishing a book, creating an exhibition, or giving a photographic presentation. This applies on the field as well.
Photographic Time: The Key to Creating Interesting Photos
Have you ever tried to blend into a landscape, to be one with it just before taking the picture? That is what I try to do in every shot, even when I photograph terrestrial or underwater animals.
When you are on the field trying to capture a photograph, I recommend that you forget your technique for a few moments and try to harmonize with all the natural elements surrounding you.
This perception impacts the way you perceive the light, the photographic elements, and the enveloping atmosphere.
It is a bit like a meditation technique. It is this way of understanding photography that allows me to create nature photos. If you apply photographic time to your own process, you will quickly realize that you are creating interesting photos, because you better understand the setting in which each photo is captured.
Viewing the World Through the Lens of Photography
I think practicing artistic photography is a way of looking on my life and seeing the world as it truly exists.
Artistic photography is an art. The photographer always provides his own interpretation of the world he is photographing. However, with time, I realized that the photo itself is not limited by the author’s perspective.
Everyone needs to find solutions to everyday problems. Everyone must understand how to compromise. We must check our accounts, manage collaborators, and respond to customers. Work can be quite stressful.
The artistic photography of nature allowed me to take a step back from my professional activities and my existential questioning. When I'm in the field as part of a photo project, I am at peace. I soak in the serenity of the scene.
I become aware of myself and the world around me. As the years passed by, I developed a photographic consciousness.
“But what is this photographic consciousness?” you may ask.
A Definition of Photographic Consciousness