Another year is upon us. My birthday is new year’s eve, so a year to me, calendar and age, is a single unit of time, which makes working out what I want to achieve in that year a little easier.
I have one goal for this year. To end it by being able to say I am a photographer. So what do I need to achieve in order to realise this? Well, it’s not really for me to say whether I am a photographer or not, that’s an honorarium to imparted by others. So this year is about, firstly and most obviously, taking more photographs, not pictures, photographs. I need to increase my hit rate to the point where I know that a good 80% of the photographs I take will be keepers. I don’t mean by improving my technical skill, but by taking photographs that I know will work, my current hit rate is probably about 1 in 50, I employ a scatter gun approach, what I should be doing is looking at a scene, deciding where the picture is and then using the skills at my disposal to achieve the picture I’m seeing in my head. Take it.. move on..
Secondly, I need people to see my pictures, and to appreciate them. I want more people to subscribe to my Facebook page, and for that to lead them to my website. I want a picture to resonate with the viewer, to have an impact on them. I also need validating, I need people to leave comments, a Facebook ‘like’ is lovely, but for somebody to take the time to leave a comment, means I’ve taken my craft to the next level. The same goes for these posts here on this website. I’d like my work to get some momentum, some traction, for people to actively seek out what I’ve been doing, and keep an eye out for new work when it arrives. But that is for the end of the year, I need to work out how to get there first.
There are two parts to photography, the photography and the photograph. The photography as an activity, is just for me. The act of going out, hunting the shot down, bagging it and then processing it properly to get the best from the image. The photograph is for everyone else, and to ensure as many people as possible see it, I need to become adept at self promotion, although being a good Englishman, self promotion doesn’t come easy! I think the first thing I need to do is establish an identity, a style, so that when somebody sees a picture they’ll immediately think of me. I think I’m already on the way to achieving that. I know what I like in an image, and processing my images to my taste is how the style will evolve. But style isn’t just about how, but also about what. Cartier Bresson had his moments, Bruce Gilden has his faces, Joel Mayerowitz has his connections, all styles that are identified by and identifiable with a particular photographer. I don’t think they went out the first few times with the ideas already fully formed, I think the photography came first, and the ideas came along after. So again, I need to go out and shoot and develop my style from there. And again, it all comes down to being out and doing it!
Once I have a good body of work (and I already have a good number of good photographs) I need to get as many as possible to see them and react to them. Facebook, flicr and 500PX are great for that, but people have to go and search for it, and anyone can post so you end up getting a little lost in the crowd. What I would like over the course of the next year is to published in magazines, for other photography websites to feature my photography, or maybe even publish one of these blogs, and to maybe sell a couple of prints. Lofty aspirations! But I think I need to start aiming high, otherwise I’m never going to elevate myself as a photographer.
So that’s the plan, to take some amazing pictures and write some interesting blogs that people want to view and read, to get a bit of a following and have other outlets showcase my work, and to finish the year with at least one person referencing me as ‘the photographer Russ Williams’ !
I’ll let you know if achieve it this time next year!