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Wednesday, 04 October 2017


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I reckon four trips out of five are a bust but the fifth trip is gold. So the more I go out, the more good shots I get (as well as getting more practice).

This rings very true. I love wandering around London when I have a spare afternoon and the weather is suitable. Sometimes I don't catch a thing.

Could be wrong place, wrong time or the wrong frame of mind. It doesn't really matter, because if I persist, I get there in the end. No point in forcing it, but no point in giving up either.

I have the same issue with writing...

Yup. All the sincerity and dedication in the world don't matter a lick if the fish ain't in the pond. That said, there are pictures out there each and every day, only question- are we there when they happen (and can we see them when they do)?

I've often thought that fishing and photography are alike in at least one way: it doesn't matter if you are skunked on any one day, because the joy and learning is in the process. I went through a very serious fly-fishing phase a few decades pack. Interestingly, I gave it up about the time I got reinterested in photography in a serious way. I remember telling myself that I would have to choose how to spend my time, and deciding that fishing for photos was ultimately more rewarding than fishing for fish.

Thanks for mentioning Tom. It means a lot to many of us, for oh so many reasons. He left an incredible musical legacy, though nothing (except a Grateful Dead concert) was like a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers outdoor event. This last tour has wonderful examples of how they grew over time into something extra special which will of course remain with his fans for as long as any of us are around.

There is a point somewhere between faith and confidence that seems to work for me. I have no idea what I'm going to get but history gives me the knowledge that I will get something useful. That scares the daylights out of my new clients; art directors need to direct, they need to know what they will get back.
When I'm out there, all I'm doing is creating situations for interesting stuff to happen and then noticing when it does instead of looking for what I expect to find, or photographing what I need.
In other words, a fishing expedition.

Was it Chuck Close who said something along the lines ''inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just go to work every day''? (amateurs not in a derogatory sense, but you get the point I hope).

I live in good fishing country. Naturally, a few people are good at fishing. It's sometimes said that the best of these think like fish. The select of the select are on the water a lot, but I've found out that at least one also spends a lot of time thinking about fish when he's not.

Waiting for a bite-

The same can be said for any creative process really.

To paraphrase zen master Shunryu Suzuki: 'Photographer's mind, beginner's mind.' Each time I experience a 'photographer's block' of sorts, the way out is realising just this.

I am sometimes consoled by a remark by some famous photographer (it's consistent with my age that I can't remember the name) who answered the question: "How to be a better photographer?" with "Stand in front of more interesting stuff!". Wish it worked reliably for me... ;-)

Just now seeing this and it reminded me of what photographer, Gary Ladd told me on a Grand Canyon river trip many years ago. He personally likened photography to hunting rather than fishing and further divided the participants into stalkers and those who set up hides or waited in tree stands. I'm pretty sure Gary prefers the hide method but his photographs taken on ever moving river trips prove he's no slouch as a stalker!

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