While I was working on the last post, I went through my notes from many of the workshops that I’ve attended. I thought you might be interested in my notes from the workshop I did with Ruth Bernhard and John Sexton. I think many of the points they made are universal, important, and timeless.
A few caveats:
These are my notes from an event that happened about 20 years ago, one that I now remember dimly. They were not intended to be transcriptions, and I am doubtful if the ideas were all expressed as imperatives, even if I wrote them down as such. The notes may not reflect what John and Ruth actually said, since the notes were intended as advice to myself. There is editing bias; it was a daylong seminar, and they said many more things that I didn’t write down.
With that out of the way, here goes:
- Remain conscious of how little of the world we perceive, even at best. Stay open to what’s really there.
- Each photograph is a self-portrait.
- The most effective photographs allow the viewer to participate – their message should not be obvious and pat.
- Photographs should be more than the experience. They should show something that a person standing next to you would not have seen.
- This is a quote from Oliver Gagliani “You have to make sure you like every one of your photographs, because you’ll never make a photograph that everybody likes.”
- The day that you find you no longer making mistakes is the day you are repeating yourself.
- Go to familiar places, so you don’t just get the superficial images.
- In order to feel, you have to touch. In order to touch you have to be close.
- Write down what your motivation is to be a photographer, and what you’re trying to say. If it takes a long time, then you’ve got a problem.
- Trace light and dark areas on prints and put the tracings together to see how you organize photographs
- See if you can make six photographs in six months on the property you live on.
- Go through the newspaper cutting out articles that caused an emotional response. Find a common denominator. Photograph it.