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Lessons of Photography

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

Weathering difficult times

Sometimes you have to weather difficult times. To get better, grow, you have to take photos at the worst times. Intense rain as I went to the seafront in the rain to capture the horrible weather in Brighton to contrast the summertime sun. Heavy snow to show a winter around the middle of Brighton among town, the emptiness of the streets around Christmas with everyone heading indoors to take shelter. These and many more, such as extreme heat, isolation away from ease of transport. Very long walks off the path. Even the exploration of an area, deciding merely to take a path you've not walked down. I have once even gotten stranded at Devil's Dyke and had to walk all the way back to Brighton in the dark along the side of roads with no pavement only in order to capture a sunset at a place I couldn't otherwise have taken. Many, if not most times, you have to take the difficult path, whether by choice or not, and you end up growing through it. Even if it takes all the more effort, all the more out of you. Even it takes all the effort you have. You end up in many ways stronger, for what it teaches you. How you adapt to it.

Turn around and you'll see

Many times, and none more than the most common photography we all do, sunset photography, the most important lesson is to look ahead, but also when you do not want to tear your eyes away. To look behind you, to turn around. Especially with sunrise or sunset. Often, you can also see amazing colours from looking behind you where everyone is fixated on the sun itself setting. Often you have to look elsewhere, to look where no one else is, to explore, to find and in many ways to go against the norm, as you may find something new, may find something no one else has. Sometimes you have to leave behind the norm and find your own path. Your own journey.

Looking towards the sunset

Looking away from the sunset

Making the moment

Another lesson that photography has taught me is the same location, even at the same time of year, you will never see the same sight twice. There are a multitude of factors; the time of day; weather; light; clouds; number of people; season and even your own state of mind at the time all play a role, in making the moment unique, you could go to the same place twice and will never see the same scene. The lesson for me was on perspective, change, a different outlook. The strive to go to 'the same place', but be happy knowing it'd be worthwhile, it would be different. Of course, some days I get a good photo and some I don't, but doesn't make any trip worthless, it's observing, and perhaps capturing a moment.

Chance it

With my photography, I go on trips, sometimes I go somewhere on the spur of the moment, like 'I'm bored, so where can I go' and decide where and head straight out with my gear. All times, whether I go after 5 minutes of decision making or after planning a trip out weeks in advance, it's a chance. A chance taken, not knowing what I'll see, many times going to a new area not knowing what it's like. Like on my trips to Steyning and Bramber. They were quaint towns, but I didn't find much apart from Bramber castle which was captured in a single shot. The buildings in Steyning were quite nice but I didn't photograph them. It was a chance, a couple-hour trip on a hot day, I didn't find much inspiration. I was bored though, having a rough day, took a chance and it still was totally worth the trip. Even if most of it was spent travelling there. It's about taking a chance, to try and see. After trying you know more, you can try again, a different time, area, angle or know there is nothing there for you. It all comes with taking the chance. Life itself is a chance. Thinking back, the people I have met, the memories made, the moments had. All built upon chance upon chance. Meeting people, old friends who I still chat with and meet and it's always like we'd never parted ways.

Beauty in normalcy

The main inspiration for the name I've chosen for my website, my work, finding the beauty in normalcy, in the everyday, a sight you may see everyday, but the one time you decide to see and then your perspective is changed. You see what you saw everyday but didn't stop to observe. There came a point everyday even on the bus I noticed what I hadn't before, walking through town, or on my walk to work. You then more and more notice what you haven't until every moment you see something you want to capture. It reminds you that there is always something there. It gave me an appreciation of just little moments. Especially important as I'm not really able to travel at the moment, so I travel even more regularly, smaller distances daily. Not seeing 'such sights' so I'm making such sights.

Never really missing a chance

One thing that struck me when I started photography was missing photo opportunities all the time in my daily life, missing a good shot I wished I could take. After a while and over time taking photos I came to acknowledge that, although it may seem obvious, the logic behind it was in contrast to the feeling behind it. Missing out on a photo opportunity. Later I realised it was okay, missing a shot, but merely observing it. For another time I will be out, taking photos instead of that time. If I am to imagine being able to capture one moment I am inherently missing another chance at a different time, this is normal. So back to another point, it's all about chance, despite this, it doesn't mean I can't take a quick photo on my phone if possible. Then I have to just make sure when I am free I can go and take photos to capture those otherwise missed moments.

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