shooting for gold
Would we be doing things any differently if we were to view our current work as some sort of practice? Like Zen in the Art of Archery ‚Äì where as much painstaking attention is paid to breathing and holding the bow, as actually trying to hit the target ‚Äì in fact the target is inconsequential to the learning process! Could we be applying that same concept to our photography?
I wonder how it would translate though. Something as simple as exposure: reading the light, knowing what depth of field you get at certain apertures on your favourite lens, or is it less technical and more about how to approach subjects, or certain kinds of composition? I‚Äôve noticed that since I did that goldfish shot, I‚Äôm paying more attention to water and how it changes our view of what‚Äôs underneath ‚Äì then I notice reflections, and how they interact with what you see through them, and then became fascinated by the effects of shooting through glass, with similar qualities. Now that I‚Äôm conscious of that, and starting to notice opportunities to explore it when I‚Äôm out wandering with my camera, am I practicing how to approach that subject so that when the fantastic image comes along that incorporates that, I‚Äôll be able to react instinctively to it? Am I building skills to be used as part of a toolset? Does it make any sense to view it as such just now? I just wondered, after reading this:
When you‚Äôre betting for tiles in an archery contest, you shoot with skill. When you‚Äôre betting for fancy belt buckles, you worry about your aim. And when you‚Äôre betting for real gold, you‚Äôre a nervous wreck. Your skill is the same in all three cases ‚Äì but because one prize means more to you than another you let outside considerations weigh on your mind. He who looks too hard at the outside gets clumsy on the inside.
(The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing, p. 23)
Would it take off a whole load of pressure if we didn‚Äôt shoot like we‚Äôre competing for gold? And would that actually allow us to work more instinctively? It seems almost contradictory, the two concepts of going on instinct and consciously practicing techniques. But I‚Äôm sure there‚Äôs a way to combine them, so that we can progress further and develop our instincts/skill.
I know it probably seems like I‚Äôm re-hashing what I talked about before with exercises in composition etc, but in that case, I was thinking about the exercises as being taken as separate from your other shooting. I think there‚Äôs something to be said for this slightly alternative approach. I‚Äôm not totally sure how you put it into practice though, since it‚Äôs less of a physical activity and more of a mindset. Need to have a think about that one ‚Äì and read more of the ‚ÄúTao of Photography‚Äù book!