Philosophy How Often Do You "See" Your Vision Change Regarding Your Photos?

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
I've been culling my photos lately, actually have made a couple passes through some of the recent/standout stuff in the past half-year. Partly digging through work that's three or four years old to distill it to the interesting moments, pick the best out of the many multiple shots of the same thing, etc. Yes, I'm lazy and a lot of those sit there for years before getting attention.

Today I also went through Flickr again, which sort of holds my "good, interesting" photos (more by nature of its being public than any strict forethought or planning), and while I'd done so a few months back and deleted a fair amount, I was able to easily delete about 50 today (I usually keep to around the 500-600 mark on Flickr). So 10% of my photos seemed easily culled, even though many had been there for several years or even longer.

Do you find yourself crossing sort of thresholds regarding how you feel about your work? I could surmise that today was just a different, more discerning "mood" than previously, but I think it's more than that. A lot of the photos which got the axe on my public Flickr were discernable as instances where I was trying to emulate something. Seems like a form of indoctrination of what it considered "good" where, once I build enough distance from that particular outside influence, the photos I came up with are recognizably not that good, because I had an imperfect understanding of what I was reaching for, plus it wasn't really coming from a deeper place in myself anyway - it was someone else's deeper place maybe, but imperfectly comprehended.

Not sure whether I'm actually any closer to figuring out what I want to "say" photographically, but sometimes it feels like a step forward is made.
 
I can't say how often I go through this. Or that I even realize every time I go through this. That said, I have noticed now that I have been going through a change in not just how I feel about my work. But also how I am shooting, and what I want to shoot with.

I've never really had a clue what I am trying to say photographically. At least until recently. With portraits I kind of have an idea of what I want to "say". Although that will change and evolve.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
Like Bobby, I'm not even sure I have a photographic vision. I shoot what interests me, and that changes almost daily. Today it might be flowers along a water body, or a sweeping landscape, or I might see one of our cats laying where the light through a window is hitting them a certain way. Some days, I have absolutely zero interest in picking up a camera.
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Real Name
bart
I have long aspired to look for more texture, more suggestion, more abstraction, less obvious compositions. However, I notice that the fewer pictures I take, the more basic they become. I still see a lot of pretty and interesting things whenever I'm out and about, but it's only when I take a lot of photos that I "graduate" from the more obvious postcard type images to (succesfully) picking out the more original compositions. It really is a muscle I need to train.

Somewhat contradictory, having just my phone with me is a big factor in making more photos, but the UI also doesn't motivate me to take my time and look for those original compositions. I just make a more thorough account of where I've been and what I've done, and I manage to do so in an aestetically pleasing way because I have a decent grip on the basics of composition... but to the extent that any of those images are long term keepers, it's almost exclusively due to their content and hardly ever due to my inspired vision or surprising composition.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
I've never really had a clue what I am trying to say photographically. At least until recently. With portraits I kind of have an idea of what I want to "say". Although that will change and evolve.
I'm not one of the photographers who wants a narrative in my photography, or leans toward photojournalism or didacticism in any way. What I "say" i say mainly to myself. Any observer should have a window into my thinking, rather than have photos made for them. If that makes sense.

What I 'see' definitely changed, and for the better too, as I went through different systems, as did my technique. Manual lens and in particular rangefinder use has contributed to that the most. An inevitable change in image output and personal taste is the result of all that.
Interesting point about equipment changing our image output, because I've definitely seen that. The Ricoh GR changed a lot for me with its tiny size and crisp, bold images, pushing me towards a bolder, more graphical-element kind of composition. My couple small film rangefinders are also changing things when I take street photos. Mostly I have noticed that I don't take furtive, half-composed street photos using a flip screen now - I stop, compose and take the photo with the camera at my eye, which I think means I am more confident and less afraid of confrontation, though I still run across photos I don't take mainly to avoid the potential of bothering someone or making them feel their privacy is threatened. Still, my Bessa-T is making me feel like a better street photographer. The highly-retro look and obvious film nature also help me mentally because I think people treat film cameras with a lot less suspicion.

Like Bobby, I'm not even sure I have a photographic vision. I shoot what interests me, and that changes almost daily. Today it might be flowers along a water body, or a sweeping landscape, or I might see one of our cats laying where the light through a window is hitting them a certain way. Some days, I have absolutely zero interest in picking up a camera.
There's so much out there about "photographic vision" which is mostly hoopla, I'm beginning to believe. Vision for me isn't about anything more than shooting what makes me happy. But seeing through the common photographic 'wisdom' for what I really enjoy, instead of what I've been told to enjoy from years and years of digesting photographic stuff is where I think my vision is growing. Funny how we find ourselves having moved so far away that the journey becomes getting back to ourselves, instead of some other end-point.

but to the extent that any of those images are long term keepers, it's almost exclusively due to their content and hardly ever due to my inspired vision or surprising composition.
Knowing what we ought to point the camera at can be a big part of it, I think.
 

kyteflyer

~@¿@~
Location
Newcastle, Australia
Real Name
Sue
Indeed... I find that work I thought decent in the past, I now think is pretty awful. I think there is only one photo I have ever taken, which I believe is the best of anything I have ever done. The rest... meh. Culling often seems to be the go and recently when bringing stuff over from an SD card, I often delete before even uploading to the computer
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Location
Los Angeles
Real Name
John
I've been a wanderer without direction or vision for many years.
No regrets. I've found it very relaxing. And gear mongering has been very fun.

Before that I recorded my kids lives growing up. It was very purposeful and gratifying.

I've recently found a passion for portraiture.
I feel like it's come at a perfect time for me.
 
I've been a wanderer without direction or vision for many years.
No regrets. I've found it very relaxing. And gear mongering has been very fun.

Before that I recorded my kids lives growing up. It was very purposeful and gratifying.

I've recently found a passion for portraiture.
I feel like it's come at a perfect time for me.
This describes me very well. With the exception of finding the passion for portraits a few years back.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Indeed... I find that work I thought decent in the past, I now think is pretty awful. I think there is only one photo I have ever taken, which I believe is the best of anything I have ever done. The rest... meh. Culling often seems to be the go and recently when bringing stuff over from an SD card, I often delete before even uploading to the computer
I think this is fairly standard across the board Sue.
 

donlaw

Hall of Famer
Location
Texas
Real Name
Don
One of my coworkers/friends said it best during a business trip few years back. After he saw me taking a photo of a taxi outside a hotel he said “you will take a photo of anything”. So true. Besides family documentation, I rarely followed a particular style or even consistent subject matter. I just try to visualize a potential photo wherever I might be. Usually based upon the parameters of equipment I happen to have brought along. Frequent changing of equipment over the years keeps that fresh. Like our ‘single in‘ challenges, I find limitations can sometimes create opportunities.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
One of my coworkers/friends said it best during a business trip few years back. After he saw me taking a photo of a taxi outside a hotel he said “you will take a photo of anything”. So true. Besides family documentation, I rarely followed a particular style or even consistent subject matter. I just try to visualize a potential photo wherever I might be. Usually based upon the parameters of equipment I happen to have brought along. Frequent changing of equipment over the years keeps that fresh. Like our ‘single in‘ challenges, I find limitations can sometimes create opportunities.
Definitely, unless there are moral or ethical questions that arise, if the question is "should I take a photo?" the answer is "Yes!"
 

doobs

Regular
Location
Reston, VA
Real Name
Chris
I've been going through this a bit myself of late. The photographic fire was rekindled a couple of years back with the arrival of the Fuji's, and that's been most rewarding in and of itself.

With the time available at the onset of the pandemic, I had the opportunity to really go the 20 years of collected images. Had really not done that before. It was quite surprising how many really good images emerged in the process, and the point was brought home that I should never just warehouse the images and move on.

This has made a difference in the way that I'm shooting nowadays. There is a walking path that I traverse a couple of times a week near my home for exercise, and I usually take a camera with me.

In the past, I would shoot anything that caught my eye, resulting in a lot of images of the same things.o_O

What I've been doing of late is adopting a theme for the walk. Wildlife, water, decay, etc. Only take pictures of the themed item for that walk.

After doing that for a couple of months, I find that my vision has drastically changed. Instead of the obvious things to shoot, my eye is drawn to the highlights not in ordinary view. The real treats, hidden behind the first layer waiting for someone to capture.

Some of this has to do with the fact that most of the foliage has lost its leaves with the Autumn cool down, but a lot has to do with the fact that I'm looking at things differently.

Now, I look forward to sitting down in front of Capture One and doing the final phase of the imaging process getting the images as I saw it when they were captured.

Thanks for this thread. I'm becoming most comfortable here with y'all.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it!
 
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cheeks69

Veteran
Location
Southeastern, MA
Real Name
Robert
I've had to do this out of necessity not only my computer because my HD was full but also because flickr put a thousand photo limit on non pro accounts, I was using it as a backup to my computer. When I upgraded the computer I culled hundreds of photos and although I liked a lot of my old stuff there was a lot of repetitive photos so those were easy decision. I would say the thing that changed my photography most drastically was getting a 70-200mm lens. The ability to zoom in/isolate and focus on the details instead of trying to get as much of the scene as possible was a revelation that took years to develop.
 

doobs

Regular
Location
Reston, VA
Real Name
Chris
I will select a theme, and then further restrict myself to a particular focal length as well. Either bring one prime, or set one of the zooms at a particular FL and not change it.

This REALLY got me out of my comfort zone and forced me to focus on the task at hand.
 
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