I was thinking about this post for a while.
From time to time, on one of the photography blogs I follow, somebody will remind fellow photographers not to miss out on life. To sometimes put the camera back and enjoy the moment. And sometimes, somobody (like Mike Wiacek in this post at Scott Kelby’s blog) will remind us, that the most precious pictures might not be those from exotic locations, or those which required the most effort. It might be this one unique picture, not at all technically perfect, of somebody important to us.
So when I think about the images I take, I distinguish two types of photographs me, and other people, take.
Some are those “memory keeping” images. These are “I was there” places and “last time we were together” times. In this category, there are the images of me standing in front of some iconic tourist place and images of me celebrating another family birthday. Images to share with family and friends, who do not care about the artistic side of photography. They just want to see the same view I saw, to share the experience, the adventure, with me.
And there are the photographs, I often call them “real” images, because they tell some more universal story, not just mine. But they also need to stick to stricter rules of photography, like exposure or composition. And they need to be, well, more “creative”. It does not mean they cannot be taken at the occasions the “memory keepers” are taken. But they usually are not. They require more thought taken into them, while snapshots are just produced in the spirit of the fleeting moment. Yes, of course, I could be just as good as to be able to get all my shots perfect technically and from unique point of view, but it is just not the case yet.
Yet more importantly, from the day I got my first dSLR, I was gradually progressing from taking only “memory keeping snapshots” to only taking “real” images. I would probably never noticed it if it wasn’t for people around me. First, my parents, later – my husband- at one point everybody started to complain that there is less and less of me or us on the images I bring back from our escapades.
Now, I am slowly starting to realize, that I am missing out. In 5 years, I will not have any reference to how I (and my family) looked and lived today. But I will have thousands of great images of flowers and planes, instead. Little consolation.
I am finally starting to understand both types of images are important to take when you are considering yourself as a photographer. Yes, the “real” images are to develop craft, get images to put out on the website, send to a contest or possibly sell. But let’s not forget sometimes to just have fun shooting and recording the story of life and the family.
It is going to take some hard work, for me at least. To get in new frame of mind, and take both types of images at every location. And then have fun spending time organizing them in bulk, on short deadline, to be able to tell the story, and show the galleries, just after coming back from the trip. But look at the images in this post- I think I am off to a good start.
How about you? Are you sharing your memory cards between your “real” and “memory keeping” images?