Thursday, June 4, 2015

If Your Photographs Aren't Good Enough, You're Not Close Enough

Web of Neglect - Mojave, California
"If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough." --Robert Capa
Robert Capa's famous quote has been repeated over and over. I've heard it myself probably a hundred times. And while he was most likely speaking specifically about war photographs, I think his principal can be applied to all genres of photography, including urban exploration, and it is every bit as relevant today as it was the moment it was first uttered.

The quote is simple enough. It could be summarized with two words: get closer. But I think we could look at it a little deeper.

Photography has a lot in common with sculpting. A sculptor chisels away everything that doesn't belong until all that is left is the finished sculpture. It's about subtraction. Remove everything that doesn't belong to reveal what was hiding there all along, which no one had noticed except the artist.
Window, Three Shadows - Mojave, California
Photography is about subtraction, too. You must take everything out of the frame that doesn't belong until the finished composition is all that's left. Less is more. Reveal what no one else noticed because of all the unnecessary clutter that got in the way.

The best way to chisel away the unnecessary clutter and get to that composition that is art is to get closer. Your feet are photographic tools. Use them to move closer so as to subtract all that doesn't belong.

The closer you get your lens to the subject the better your photographs will be. They'll be cleaner, simpler and clearer. So, if you are not happy with your images, move in a little closer to refine your compositions.

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