Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Stick to what you're good at...

It turns out that being a successful photographer doesn't mean that you're good at all photography. Actually that's quite an obvious thing to say. However, It's taken me a while to shed my defensive nature and accept that some photography (usually the stuff I enjoy - surprise surprise) is the kind of stuff I love doing and am good at. Whereas other areas I really don't enjoy and surprise surprise although I can do it, I'm no good at it... there's a difference.

While Tom & I were spectating at The Vitruvian (a half Ironman distance triathlon event in Leicester) I travelled light and only had my trusty iPhone4 as my camera companion. The day was littered with amazing photographic opportunities. We were there to support many of our friends who were racing yet oddly my eye was drawn away from the people as individuals and I got caught up in the mysterious loveliness that the rising sun and thick fog were creating.

As we waited for the start of the race Tom got his camera out so he could catch our friends during the race. It was then that I realised I'm just not into race photography. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at amazing race/in action images (which Tom's actually really good at.) A couple of my triathlete friends (David & his wife Sharon Rowe) are a wicked race photography combination and I love seeing their sport images. The images that appear on back pages after huge sporting events like the Olympics blow me away but for me personally I just don't enjoy doing it. Give me athlete portraiture and I'm there, man/woman at one with their sport, I love it. It's a bit weird but I can only put it down to actually not being that great at race photography and the monotony of snapping away at every competitor bores me. There's definitely a talent to it and I admire those that are good it, but leave the random arty side to me and I'm as happy as the proverbial pig.

Now I've accepted that a) I don't enjoy that sort of photography and b) I'm not that good at it I can move on.

So I'm sticking to what I'm good at...BUT that doesn't mean not pushing my photography boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone. That's an important part of learning how to grow and lately I've been challenged quite a bit and as uncomfortable as it's been at the start by the time I've finished the process I've learnt so much. No one job is ever the same, it's an amazing occupation, in fact I dont really feel like I work for a living, it's a bonus that I get paid for doing something that I love!!

Freelancing is a bit like these tentative swimmers. They can swim and they all know roughly how the course goes. The fact that the fog has blighted their path doesn't stop them from getting in and trusting their instincts and the people in front. Even if they go off course a little they'll find the end eventually and be all the more proud for doing so.

I've just finished shooting the cover image for a book being written about the Olympics and once the launch in November is done I'll blog about the creative process and how we went about getting the right image from start to finish.

Happy week.

H :0)


  1. H,
    They are amoungst, if not the, greatest photos I've ever seen. The one with the guys going into the water, well - is awesome. It nearly brought me to tears, staggeringly impressive. It took me a while to figure it out, but I think it evoked deeply primitive echoes of some sub/pre-human ritualistic homage to the floating shamen! Perhaps the vapour trails detract from that a little, but the Turner-esque framing and absence of horizon is the main attraction.
    Although I slightly regret not being there with the other sub-humans, I doubt even that could have matched the magnificence you've captured here.
    P.S. Is that some guy drowning off to the right?

  2. Oh, I meant the first one (in particularly) of the primitives descending...

  3. Rob, that's just what I was thinking when took it lol!!
    P.s isn't he waving? ;)

  4. I can't imagine yuo not being good at some photography. You are so talented it is incredible.

  5. Thanks ADC, that's a really kind thing of you to say :) xx

  6. Did you add the central glare/flare? The sun seems to be coming from slightly to the right, but the flare is central. Genius either way.

  7. P.S. It looks like the guy off to the right IS he drowns...eerie.

  8. Rob, the sun was actually really bright behind that fog, I used a yellow/orange tint to add to the atmosphere :) Hope all is well with you petal.
    And thanks Debra, hope to see you and Hannah & Andy soon. x