21 Jan Practice, a noun

Source: Don Craig

Routine shooting for long-term happiness

Sitting over lunch. Images and thoughts bouncing between us, Shiela and I discussed what we had just experienced. The scene is an art gallery café and the images were, mostly, those of Walker Evans.

The idea of “practice” emerges from the conversation. It got me thinking. Still trying to clarify, but there is an interesting kernel there.

Reviewing the work of someone like Evans, makes me realize, again, how much time and effort goes into a successful practice. In this case, I’m measuring success in many ways, least of which is money. One of his notable successes was that he made photos on his own terms, most of the time. Of course he made commercial photos, which aren’t displayed next to his “art” photography, but were necessary for him to continue his full photography practice.

Pondering Evans’ photography got me thinking about my own image-making practice. I find it helpful to periodically think about what, why and how I am making photos. Of course, it’s easier to evaluate commercial work, as client satisfaction goes a long way in determining success. On a personal level, refining my photography practice is an ongoing endeavour. However, determining success with personal work is a messier process that sometimes feels too slippery to grasp.

One of the aspects of this practice is actually practising seeing and capturing images. I find that by hitting the streets (or a ferry or an art gallery), camera in hand, helps me practise seeing images.

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