Experimental Photography

One of the differences I see with the way people photograph, comparing digital to analog, is that digital photographers tend to be experimental photographers. What I mean is, when we photograph with digital, we often take a photo before we have a chance to really think it through, and then if it’s not good enough, we take another, until we’re satisfied. The digitalization of photography, and especially photography with phones, has taught us to shoot first, ask questions later.

This isn’t good or bad, but something we do because we’re afforded the luxury of doing it. One of the many things digital photography gives us for free – the ability to quickly and easily redo our photos. A sculptor might smash his sculpture and start over, a painter would paint over something they didn’t like. If you make pottery, I’m sure you’ve crushed your soft clay pot back into a ball and started over more than once. With photography as our medium, and being privileged to live in the digital age, we simply click the delete button, and forget about anything we didn’t like. I try to wait until I at least see the photos on my computer before deleting anything… just to be sure I’m not deleting something that’s salvageable – and I always hope I can learn from my mistakes.

In a way, we are able to treat all of our photos as experiments. We keep the ones that turn out good, and trash the rest, with certainly no loss of money, and almost no loss of time. When you’re not satisfied with a sculpture that took 6 weeks to complete – it’s a pretty big loss of time and money to start over.

It would be nice if we could develop discipline as photographers to take our time, and do it right for every shot. I think it helps us to consider the artistic elements, like lighting and composition, instead of just hoping for one or 2 good results if we shoot enough.

I hope you like my featured photo on this post. I call it “Remnant of the Squeaky Ball” and I took a few different shots of this ball that our new puppy tore apart, apparently trying to discover what makes it squeak. I tried to take my time and set the focus and exposure just right, even though I was shooting digital. I’m trying to discipline myself to think before I shoot. I do plenty of machine gun photos – especially since I love sports photography. This has been a good exercise for me – and is helping me to rediscover my artistic side.

I’d love to hear what you think. Instead of taking 20 photos of the same scene, try taking 1 or 2 good ones!