This challenge follows from the previous one (the last blog post in challenges) . In my Blue Mountains master class we have spent a fair bit of time discussing 'Beauty'.
In our list of 'photographic rules' we follow, we had numerous references to beauty. Statements such as; "only photography beauty" or "only get the camera out when in the presence of beauty."
One thing I have learnt in my recent discovery of the concept of Wabi-Sabi is the notion that beauty is a moment, an interaction. It could strike us at any time. Which then begs the question of are we searching for it, or waiting for it to strike us and where are we looking for it.
Do you go out looking for beauty? Do you only go to known beautiful spots? As Fiona reminded me, "Len, we are always asking you where the best spots to photograph are." We are so guilty of this limiting belief. It pervades our work.
Freeman Paterson will soon tell you that the best place to take a photograph is where you are, where you are right now.
So we should be looking in different spots. We should be re examining our familiar spots, yes the ones we have discounted as worthless.
As a young rock climber we would go in search of new crags to put up new rock climbs. Our dream was to discover and develop a new location. To make the first ascents. Many of the sites we dismissed, because we didn't look hard enough or had our blinkers on as to what would make a good new climbing area. Yet, years later I return when the same areas become well known for the quality of the new rock climbs there. One such area is at Nowra. Now a famous climbing destination, yet one we discounted as worthless when I was a teenager with little vision or foresight. Someone else came along and looked with different eyes, tried and succeeded. An important lesson for me.
I stop to wonder how many photographic locations have I discounted because I pronounced them worthless. Or the thousands of missed photographs because I didn't go out with my camera when the light wasn't quite right, or the wind was blowing too strongly (I used to only use the view camera when there was stillness). Or even when I stayed in bed, pronouncing that the sunrise this morning isn't going to be good enough to warrant the effort. Tens of thousands I reckon, if I am truly honest with myself.
So do you only get the camera out when your in the presence of 'beauty'?
Well, then the challenge is go to places and at times you don't find intrinsically beautiful and start your search, or see what comes to you. Challenge your own preconceived ideas and judgements about places and subjects. Revisit them, explore, experiment and see where it takes you.
Post your amazing rule breaking photographs in our group https://www.flickr.com/groups/lensschool/ - don't forget to mention which rule you are breaking...
Bill Cunningham's quote pertains to this: "He who seeks beauty, Will find it."