I recently went to a photography exhibition at the Metropoliatan Museum of Photography while on holiday in Tokyo. I found it by chance while filling in time between some other activities, but it turned out to be a big source of inspiration. Sometimes I look at other photographer's work and think something along the lines of, 'why didn't I think of that?' 'why are my photos not quite that good?' My brain then goes into overdrive, ruminating, trying to concoct all sorts of ideas for good photos.
My experience at the exhibition was a little different though. The first gallery contained photos by Kawauchi Rinko. Some of these were fairly stunning. Others left me a little cold and sumewhat puzzled, in the same way that modern art sometimes can. I'm in no position to criticise anyone's work, but it is a matter of personal taste I suppose, and I left the hall feeling I hadn't quite got my moneys-worth.
The second hall contained the World Press Photo 2012 exhibition containing a whole host of photos ranging from a chilling portrait of a prositute to scenes of war. Some of these photos were greusome and difficicult to look at but almost without exception, they blew me away. What struck me was not just their beauty but the circumstances under which they must have been taken. Many had clearly been shot under phenomenally stressful and violent conditions in which there must also have been significant risk to the photographer. And yet they were beautifully framed, crisp and sharp and highly evocative with increadible subjects.
This got me thinking that the photographers in question probably didn't stand around setting up tripods, debating appertures and exposures, taking countless shots of the same subject under all manner of different settings. Presumably they have a a walk about setting which does for just about everything they might come across. Of course I might be wrong. I would be curious to know if anyone here has this kind of approach to photography, and if so what settings you tend to use?
As always, feel free to browse my work here or on my website hiblaze
When I'm in a situation where I'm going to be so pressed for time, for whatever reason, I'll click over to Aperture Priority mode so the only thing I need to concern myself with is depth of field... one setting! Both Nikon and Canon cameras do a darn good job in AP mode. I use Nikon cameras and have worked with hundreds of images from world-class photographers who use Canons at the ad agency I work at, so I've worked with images from both camera makers. I always peak into the meta data of the images from these pro photographers and when they're shooting a sailboat race, for example, they will more often than not be shooting in AP mode. Here's an example of an AP mode shot of a passing UPS truck I had no time to think about settings on...
I think there are two types of photo enough alternative.
The first type, certainly more widespread in the stock agencies, is based on a concept or a feeling that the photographer wants to communicate through an image that he "design" before the realization. In this case he have enough time to run one or many shots. He can use a tripod and can have plenty of time to suggest to a model to correct positions for his photos.
The second type, closer to editorial type of photos, is a shot where the photographer wants to "seize the moment". He hardly is able to speak with the subject of his photos, but even he must "plunge" into the reality of his photos.
I do not think that these two types of photo should compete against each other. Masterpieces can be realized in both cases. Just in case the first approach is more related to ideas and projects, whereas in the latter more to the explorations, experimentations and adventures