Sunday, 2 October 2011

The great thing(s) about photography

Maybe not for everyone, but certainly for me, the greatest thing about photography is that it gives you the perfect excuse to look at the world like a child. How else can an adult get away with lying on the ground looking closely at something without appearing to others like a complete lunatic? Once you put a camera between the prostrate person's eye and the thing they are looking at they are justified in looking closely. You can look at the world in this inquisitive way without a camera, but photographs can help to show others how the world looks when you change your point of view - not just physically.

Children are naturally inquisitive, naturally explorative. As people grow older most seem to stop looking with wonder and awe - except at that which is considered wondrous or awesome. Everything has become familiar. Or more so they think everything has become familiar. A camera allows you to look with an altered perception to the everyday. I'm sure that all visually creative people retain a childlike interest in the way the world looks.

Another childish facet to creativity in any field is that it performs the same role as play does for children. This is not the same as an adult 'playing' football or golf, that's merely participation. Play is creative. It's about messing about with things and seeing what happens. Photography allows you to do that in a visual arena. You can approach picture making as a sport - following set rules, or you can approach it as play - fooling around with no rules. It depends how grown up you are...

So what if passers-by give you funny looks for taking photographs of abandoned balls, or milk-floats, or dogs on leads rather than sunsets when there are adventures in perception to be had!

No comments: