Vision and Intent

I’ve just read a very interesting post by photographer and writer David duChemin about vision or rather what he calls intent and how neither of those things is immediately available when on a shoot.

You can read the full article here. It might help to do so before reading on. 

I have followed David for many years, have many of his books and love his photography – don’t worry duChemin fans, there is no “but” coming. I am just pleased that he has shared with us the problems that I certainly have when going out to photograph and arriving at my “vision” for an area, subject or object. As an amateur photographer, what I tend to do when I go out is roughly know what is in the area that I am going to and from that have a broad (very broad) idea of what I may be able to photograph when I get there. Very often I am wrong, and sometimes I can come back with nothing like what I envisioned I may get initially although I can honestly say that I never come back with nothing

David says that going with intent rather than a vision to take photographs means that you can work through to achieving your vision which probably might not be immediately discernable. He advocates the use of what he calls, sketch photographs. Taking images from every angle from every viewpoint, changing lenses, settings and focus until with this process you get closer to your vision for the subject and thus nearer to what you want to achieve.

In my DSLR days, I always took a lot of photographs, bracketing exposure, different depths of field etc because that gave me more opportunity to arrive at a reasonable chance of getting good images. However, when I started using mirror-less cameras I took fewer photographs. I thought that I didn’t need to take so many, because the viewfinder is WYSIWYG. I can see what images I am getting with exposure, compensation and the contrast shown accurately in the viewfinder. What I did find however was that when I was looking over the images I would often think that I should have moved to the left, to the right, moved further back, changed the DOF etc. I was getting lazy, thinking and believing that the shot I was taking looked good in the camera, so it must be the best. I was being creatively lazy.

For the last year, since the first lockdown, I have changed. I now take lots of images moving around the subject or area, trying different techniques, angles and lighting. As a result, I find that I can better choose the image that fit my vision for the scene. It’s about getting involved in what is in front of you and not giving up thinking that you have the shot, after a couple of clicks.

If you haven’t done so, read David’s article. I love his description of himself trying to find the right shot.

(click) Nope.

(click) Nope.

(click) Nope.

(click) Hmmm…

(click) Interesting, what if I…

(click) Nope. But…

(click) Nope. Drat. Oh, but…

(click) Ooooh, hang on a…

(click) This gives me an idea.

(click) Closer

(click) OMG. I love that.

(click, click, click)


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