I have found photography to be an incredible endeavour. Every day I face a plethora of choices about observing, seeing and crafting a photograph. The more I practice this craft the more I agree with Elliott Erwitt that “it is about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.”
There is no better season to do just that than in the winter months. At this time of year, I used to put away my camera with the exception of family celebrations and commercial work. After all, Vancouver can be quite miserable in winter: the perfect blend of R-A-I-N, cold and wind was not something I was looking for.
Then I started the R-A-I-N project and began photographing when it was pouring rain or on foggy mornings or when Vancouver got snow. I embraced the elements at their worst! Now, the summer months have become a less desirable time to do photography.
For the last few days I have been shooting street photography in downtown Vancouver, taking advantage of the beautiful fog that’s been blanketing the city. Photographing in fog has always been one of my favourite activities. It’s a neutral canvas. When teaching workshops, I always try to convey the idea of a canvas to my students. Crafting the image has a lot in common with painting. A painter takes a white canvas and starts adding elements to it, considering light and shadow in the process. Therefore, paintings usually have marvellous aesthetics and very little clutter.
Fog provides you with a blank, white canvas and you, as a photographer, start adding elements to it, arranging those elements in the frame and together with light you create unique visuals. However, that’s not all. Fog, R-A-I-N, wind – all the conditions we avoid – provide an extraordinary atmosphere.
This set of conditions along with concentration and intense observation are prerequisites for creating great imagery. Don’t confuse great with popular – they often diverge for a reason. Unique imagery is different, strange, bizarre – not something you can consume on-the-go. Yes, such risk-taking often leads to failure and disappointment but on occasion you can create magic. There is no greater compliment than the moment when your viewer stops scrolling and stares at your image because there is so much to explore, decipher, process and feel.
The magic of photography, indeed.
All imagery taken with the Fujifilm X-E3 and the XF 35mm F1.4. Will try to share with you some thoughts about this little camera in one of our upcoming posts. Stay tuned.
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