Why and How to Develop a Photographic Consciousness – Part 2
A Definition of Photographic Consciousness
Above all, it is necessary to define the word consciousness.
By definition, consciousness is the ability to perceive oneself, to identify oneself, to think and to behave appropriately. It is what we feel, what we know about others and the world.
The goal of consciousness is to know how to define oneself in relation to others.
If we extrapolate to photography, we can say that:
Why Develop a Photographic Consciousness
If you want to create interesting photos, you need to create different pictures from other photographers. It is an essential condition.
Take the case of all photographers who simply copy, reproduce a style that another photographer has created or developed. They are destined to be pale copies of original works.
When they are going to show or exhibit their photographs, they will hear that it is déjà vu. They will not even be watched, analyzed. They are without interest.
Emotionally, they will be affected. They will quickly be discouraged. Finally, they will stop photographing. I think it is a shame because some of these photographers have talent. But they did not take the time to develop it. They wanted to go fast by creating fashionable photos.
If they took photographic time into consideration by analyzing the photographic approach of other photographers, they could have better defined themselves and asserted their own style.
Developing a photographic awareness allows you to define your own photographic personality, your signature and your artistic approach.
The Consequences on Your Artistic Creativity
If you take the time to develop a photographic awareness, the consequences will be visible:
- You will see that your nature photographs will become more and more interesting.
- You will focus more on your photo projects.
- You will not waste time making photos that will stay on your computer without ever being shown.
- You will create photographic works that have a real meaning, that are consistent in the series.
- You will create interesting photographs.
- Some people will praise you on your artistic approach.
- Your motivation will increase.
- You will want to please these people.
- You will continue to create interesting photos.
- You will have a real role to play.
- You will bring with your creativity this little brick to humanity. You will be useful.
It is this virtuous circle that I apply in my photographic activity. It is a real pleasure.
How to Develop a Photographic Consciousness
Once you understand why you need to have a photographic awareness, it is necessary to give you the means to define it.
Different solutions are available to you:
- The first solution is to document about the photographers who are in the field of your artistic and photographic activity. For that, look at websites, buy books they have published. Read all the writings related to these photographers.
- The second solution is to visit all museums dedicated to photography or all photo exhibitions. I think it's an amazing way to progress. For my part, I often extend this field of investigation to national museums which exhibit painters, draftsmen, sculptors. It is a very important source of inspiration.
- The third solution is to participate in photo workshops. Personally, I participate in one or two classes a year. This allows me to confront other photographers or others who have better skills than mine in some areas.
Workshops are unique moments for meetings and exchange of points of view. I always look for workshops with a good atmosphere during which the tutor is primarily a facilitator who will spread his knowledge but also promote exchanges between participants. Classes are in my opinion a great way to develop a photographic awareness to be in relation to others.
- The fourth solution is the contests. You have to search for contests at the end of which you receive a feedback on your photos. Contests for which you receive a letter telling you that your photos have not been selected are useless for the development of a photographic consciousness. Personally, I participate in four competitions a year. I present four photographs each time. Fees are required. But I'm getting a video from the jury commenting on my photos. These fees are nothing compared to the interest of the remarks. It's a real plus.
The Tools to Develop a Photographic Consciousness
You are certainly wondering what the tools are to put in place to develop a photographic consciousness.
They are very simple to find. You have them all at your disposal.
- Your brain.
- What to write.
Personally, I use a notebook and a pen. Every morning I wake up at 6 o'clock. I take my block. I hold myself against two pillows to be as comfortable as possible in my bed. Then I write. All the columns you read on the blog are written this way.
At first, I write the idea that I want to develop in the form of a title. In a second time, I write a number of sentences and ideas that I think. Third, finally, I write the body of the text. I do not have a word limit.
I'm just putting a time limit on writing. Every morning, I give myself 45 minutes to develop my photographic consciousness. Then I take 45 minutes to develop my marketing actions.
For this morning interlude is the best time slot I have found to state ideas, formalize them and develop them.
I also sometimes resume texts already written. I correct them. I modify them. I update them according to my new learning.
My photographic consciousness evolves with time. Nothing is fixed. When I meet new photographers or new people, I question myself. New ideas arise.
This is what I call the plasticity of photographic consciousness.
Photographic plasticity is the ability to adapt, to change according to encounters and events while maintaining its own photographic approach.
My Advice for You
If I had any advice to give you, it would be to define a fixed time slot every day or every other day for example. You isolate yourself. You take time for yourself.
Think, think, disregard the outside world. Develop your ideas.
Define your photographic artistic approach. Define what you like in photography. For example, define how you like to compose, how you like to fit. In short, everything that touches your artistic creativity.
Write a text for each point. Do not try to make a long text that will bring everything together. It would be a mistake. Be fragmented in your approach. You will be more productive.
I hope this article will have opened your mind to a new way of approaching photography. If you have the feeling of having reached limits in your artistic creativity, I guarantee you that this way of looking at photography will allow you to go much further. Only your imagination will be your limit. This is one of the ways to create photographs that make sense and are interesting.