Searching For My Photography Identity
Why photography? Who am I as a photographer? What is my style? What are my main tools of choice? What camera formats should I use? What ratio of film to digital should I shoot? How much editing and post production work to my photos do I feel comfortable with doing? How and where do I want to display my work?
Over the past 2 years as I have started to take photography more seriously these are some of the questions I have asked myself. Some are easier to answer than others but they are all important and they are all connected. Filling in some of these answers will and is helping shape who I am as a photographer and filmmaker.
One of the things I want to do with this blog and my personal YouTube channel is to document some of my thoughts and thought processes behind my creative direction for my photography. My filmmaking, although connected in many ways, has different aspects to it. I will document a slightly different set of things regarding filmmaking. I hope I make this all interesting enough for you to continue to follow along and see where all this goes.
Part 1 — Why Photography?
When I was a kid I was fascinated by the idea that some light passing through glass onto a piece of film produced an image. It doesn’t matter how many times I read about it or how it was explained to me it seemed like magic to me. I completely understood that it was science but it felt like something more. Maybe it was the fact that there’s a random element to what happens in front of the lens. Photography has captured some amazing moments through out its history and still does everyday. When by chance you point the camera at a certain spot just as something amazing happens it also feels a little like magic. I dig magic.
Photography isn’t magic though, right? It is art. Or is it? Whether photography is art is a question that has been around since the first pine-hole-camera-selfie was taken. This debate can take us down a worm hole that never ends with consensus about what is or isn’t art. Over the past year or so there have been many great blogs written and videos made about this debate. Do a search and you’ll find a ton of great ones. These are just my thoughts. I don’t buy into the idea that art is either subjective or objective. Just like most things that incite heated debate there is a lot of middle ground that is uncomfortable for many people to stand in so they run to one side or the other. Let’s focus on that middle ground. The debate about what is art can be looked at through a subjective lens as well as an objective one. For the purpose of this piece, this temporarily solves our “Is photography art?” question. For me, certain photographs inspire, create a mood or vibe just like a painting or a great piece of music can. So, is photography art? It can be. I dig art.
Just like all art forms, photography requires tools to create it. Unlike other art forms, with a couple of exceptions, photography has evolved and benefited tremendously from great technology advancements over its history. Whether you are shooting with an old pin hole camera, a large format field camera, a ranger-finder, 35mm SLR or a modern day DSLR, they are all pieces of technology. They are not all digital but they are all technological improvements over what preceded them. In June, Canon is releasing 2 cameras that have similar megapixel specs as digital medium format cameras that cost 10 times as much. It takes some pretty cool technology to make that happen. Photography is technology. I dig technology.
Art, technology with some magic mixed in seems like a pretty cool medium to create with. There’s something about the image making process that speaks to me. Choosing to dive back into photography was an easy decision and almost seemed inevitable. Some of the decisions after that point that will help shape me as an artist are not so obvious.
Some of the questions I posed at the beginning of this piece won’t be answered directly through blog or video but some will. Or least I will attempt to answer some.
In the next piece I address the question — How much editing and post production work to my photos do I feel comfortable with doing?
Check back soon. Visit my personal website for more about me and to see some of the photos I’ve taken recently. www.craigbergonzoni.com and sign up for my newsletter while you’re there.