A wrong way to see it
Foreword to all my non-Catalan or Spanish speaking friends:
This will be an English resume of my blog texts. Please by kind with me about my grammar skills, and never doubt in suggesting any correction for the mistakes you may find.
Photography is a creative activity based in technique. As other creative activities, like painting, are without having to carry this charge of technicity.
Maybe the reason is that painting is more associated to a tool – the brush – than to a machine – the camera -, but without technique we won’t be able to paint anything.
It is said that technique is something we need to learn to forget it. Maybe “forget” it is not the right word, I prefer “absorb” but, in any case, technique is always two plus two equal four, That’s it, and although in can look hard for some people, everybody, sooner or later, will understand it.
Anyway, the obsession about technical subjects usually means forgetting what is really important: all the stuff related to visual culture and the ability to build an image and understand it.
In basic photography courses there are two things that usually surprising me. First thing is people who has interest on photography, enough to invest time and money to learn, but they don’t have any kind of visual reference, any author who they like. Is like taking a writing course without knowing who Cervantes was.
Second thing is the obsession of people about technical matters, not thinking about the need to build the image, to have a personal vision of how things are and how they want to represent them in a picture. And that drives us to the more interesting point: the most popular session in courses is the one related to composition: how to frame a picture and how to understand it.
Is very interesting to see how students discover a kind of new world that they have in front of their noses, and how they realize that, if they want to improve their pictures, this is the really first step, never technique or computers. We always need to frame; no device is able to do it for us.
How to look, the ability to build an image is something that we carry with us, we just need to take conscience of that and work on it.
That is about the ability of observing and understanding a picture, something that everybody should be able to do in a world where most information come thru images, and very few people is aware of that, something that partly explains why some “professional” works are accepted although they have a serious lack of quality in this aspect (it is not just about being a cheap work, it’s about the ignorance of the receiver of the pictures).
The most difficult comes after: building a consistent speech with your pictures, going from grammar to narrative. Having something to explain and knowing how.
As musician Jordi Savall says “You can teach everything but the essential”.