I use this blog to keep track of what I’m learning about photography, but the next few posts address a critical knowledge deficit. You know the old populist saw: “I don’t know about art, but I know what I like!” I actually know quite a bit about art and technology, but I still don’t know what photographs I like.
So I developed a little exercise to see if I could learn more about what I like in a photograph and how I can use that knowledge to improve my work. I reviewed the images from each month of 2011 as thumbnail images in a browser, and chose two favorites for each month: one from my assigned work and one from my personal images. The chief criterion was the same for each category: Does the image stand out from a sea of images? Do I like it as a photograph on its own merits, apart from its role as a publicity image or a personal documentary snapshot?
It was surprisingly easy to choose a single favorite from each set of images, but now I need to spend some time analyzing WHY, and how I can use this information to improve my eye.
In most months, the assigned images outnumber personal images about 100 to one, but very, very few of the assigned images stand as powerful photos on their own, and I found that kind of depressing. I expect to do far fewer dance and theater assignments in 2012, but I’m determined to bring more artistry to every photo I make.
Next time we’ll take a look at April, May, and June, when I took tens of thousands of pictures but didn’t find very many I liked.