Observational Photography

My main hobby is photography, as I have frequently written about here. Although I mostly enjoy taking pictures, I also get pleasure from hanging out with other “togs”, talking about photography etc. At my camera club, instead of taking a break over the summer, we have a series of member-led evenings. I was easily persuaded to do a talk and that is what I will be doing this evening. I received the request some weeks ago, so, in the meantime, I needed to ponder what to speak about …

Although I have been doing photography all my adult life – certainly for more than 40 years – I do not feel that I have ever found my “groove”. I have never established a clear style or concentrated on a particular genre. Most photographers start out having a go at everything – landscape, portraiture, sport, still live, macro, natural history … – but eventually settle down to one or two genres in which to specialize.

I realized, after various people asked me what kind of photos I take, that I did not have a simple answer. So I started pondering what gives me most pleasure photographically. I arrived that a simple conclusion: I get satisfaction/pleasure from seeing and capturing an image that many other people have not seen [or cannot see]. Often, such images are looking at something from a different angle, abstracting something [shooting just a small part] or juxtaposing multiple subjects. Other images are much simpler, but commonly ephemeral [they only exist for a very short time]. I have heard someone comment that I do a lot of abstract images. This is true, but there is usually some clue as to what the photographic subject was. I decided to illustrate my conclusion in my talk, which takes its title from my naming of my “genre”: Observational Photography.

Here are a few example images:

My personal photography website – Drawing with Light [which is what the word “photography” means] – is my Instagram gallery, where I post something most days. You can find many examples of my work there.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2019/06/13/observational-photography/