There are two parts of photography. The mechanics, or how to use the equipment to get the desired results, and the desired results. What do you want to say? What does your subject want you to tell?
The relationship between a photographer and his/her equipment should be seamless. Automatic. Like driving a car, do you think about it? Not usually, we step on the gas to go, the brakes to slow down or stop, turn the wheel to go left or right. We do it all without consciously thinking. So we must strive to work our camera equipment the same way. Our equipment are just tools to help us say something. No different than an artist’s brush or a poet’s pen.
There are many other relationships in photography. The relationship between colors, between light and shadow, between focus and out-of-focus, between the primary and secondary motifs, between the art and the viewer of the art.
But the most important relationship is between the artist and the subject.
Many times the artist tries to control the subject, portraying it in the artist’s likeness and not as the subject would like to be portrayed. This may result in an untruth that doesn’t resonate with the audience.
How many photographs have you seen of the same subject that looked similar but were made by different photographers? Maybe one stood out among the many. One that moved you, that inspired you, that touched you. That is what we strive to do, touch the viewer, strike a chord. To do this we must collaborate with the subject.
“What makes us different is our experiences, and what makes our art different is how our personal experiences influence our art.”
Our experiences should not control our art, but influence it. We must allow our subject to tell us how it wants to be portrayed. Leave pre-conception at home. Allow yourself to see for the first time. Listen to what your subject is telling you. What it wants to tell the world. It’s there. Do you hear it? Can you see it?