The camera always points both ways. In expressing your subject, you also express yourself.
What do your photographs say about you? I have just spent 6 years studying for my Master’s in Fine Art in Photography at the Academy of Art University. During that time, I was completely surrounded by other photographic artists. To them, this kind statement is as familiar as a favorite sweater. For those who have not studied photography (beyond the user’s manual of your camera), this statement is a bit ‘out there’.
You ask “What is there beyond pushing the shutter button and capturing a moment in time? Isn’t a picture just an documentation of that event or person?”
As I have stated in previous entries, I believe that you cannot truly ‘take’ a picture until you give a bit of your soul. What kind of image do you want representing your soul? A blurry image? An image that is so cluttered you can hardly tell what the subject is? What about a family picture that cuts people off at the knees but leaves 2 inches of sky above them. These are expressions of yourself that are laid out for all to see!
I LOVE Facebook, but may I be open with a pet peeve of mine? (And all my wonderful friends, I apologize in advance, what I have to say here might be hard to hear!) I really don’t like it when people upload every single picture they’ve taken at an event. Sometimes there are two or three of the same person in the same pose at the same time, differentiated only by the slightest camera movement. And out-of-focus pictures … Really??
My point is, even the act of uploading those pictures says something about your personality. I’m not going to say what it says – that’s for a shrink to decide.
Truthfully, you express yourself through the care you take in composing your picture, by choosing the correct settings, in taking the time to know your camera. These all give the careful observer an insight into your soul.
So, as you again pick up your camera to capture an event, person or location – please stop and take the time to think not only about your subject, but about yourself and how you want to express yourself through that picture. Then, snap away!