05 Mar Advice: Shoot, shoot and shoot a lot! Really?

Source: Olafs Photoblog

A few months ago Kasia and I watched an excellent documentary about the life and work of one of the great photographers, Sebastiao Salgado, titled “The Salt of the Earth.” The imagery and narrative of this fascinating film make it a must-see for every photographer.

One moment, in particular, caught my attention and started me thinking. The camera shows Sebastiao Salgado in the Arctic shooting for his mega project “Genesis.” He tries to capture a group of walruses but they refuse to come on shore. On occasion, he and his son retreat to a small shelter. Then there is a scene when a huge, beautiful polar bear approaches them.

Most photographers in such a situation would go into non-stop shooting mode until the memory card is filled. But not Sebastiao Salgado.        

Watching the majestic polar bear approaching them, his son asks, “What do you think, Dad?” Sebastiao answers, “It will be complicated to get this story” and then continues “It’s not just a matter of getting close to a bear and taking a picture, if the framing is poor, you will just show the bear but it won’t be a photo. This spot is not good. There is nothing in the background, nothing to compose a well-framed picture.”

This is exactly why he is such a great photographer. Today, the ease of taking a photo along with the almost unlimited number of exposures (unlike in film days) cause many photographers to shoot “just in case” or “I am sure one

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