David's Blog

WHAT KIND OF PHOTOS..

.. do you take? - People have been asking me in my journey as a photographer.

Even though I know that it is a popular question, I don't have an answer.
"A photo says more than 1000 words" - And I show them my photos.
Really, what can I say? What do you see? Surreal? Abstract? Mysterious?

How would you describe it?

F... YOU - THANK YOU

Shop windows, mannequins, sexy underwear & someone doing something next to the mannequins: I love that setup!

I was taking pictures of the mannequins when a young girl (working there) showed me the middle finger with an angry face.

I was laughing so hard, that the following pictures were all blurry.
While laughing I checked, if a got that beautiful moment.
Yes, I got it!
I showed the girl the finger as well, but the thumb: (y) and said: THANK YOU!

Afterwards I got inspired:
In future, if people want to provoke me, criticize me, play games, try to make me jealous or start to fight with me:
I will smile and inside myself I will say: Thank you, I don't want your negative energy in my system.

And I'll keep on walking.

SURREAL PORTRAITS.

Surrealism. What is that? And why do people call something surreal?

Liz and I were talking about it at an surreal art exhibition.
"That's strange" people say about things which are not ordinary.

But in fact they are not strange. Imagine if there would be more of those strange things, then the ordinary objects would become strange.
All over the world, we have more or less the same style of things.
But imagine a country which almost has nothing from "our world".
People from that country visiting our "ordinary" country, would be totally perplexed about the amount of surrealism.

I'm attraced to surrealism. It is refreshing & stimulating for the mind.

A new project is born: SURREAL PORTRAITS.

NUMBER ONE

I have been thinking a lot: what is the number one ingredient which makes a portrait great?

There are many ingredients: light, shadows, location, background, camera settings, the right lens, creativity and a good connection to the model.
All of them are important.

BUT.

Which is the number ONE?

For me the number one ingredient for a great portrait is:
AUTHENTICITY! The moment where the wall is down, being "lost in thought", not thinking about the camera, having a raw emotion.
That's why I don't like portraits where you smile. A smile is like a wall. One exception: if the smile is natural, then it's ok.
Do you know what I mean?

We all walk around with a walls. I hear somebody screaming: "No, not me". Ok, there are exceptions. But I believe we all walk around with walls, some bigger - some smaller.

For my taste, you can sacrifice all other ingredients, as long as you get an authentic, raw moment with the model.
There are so many beautiful portrait photos out there. Everything is perfect, but the one ingredient is missing: authenticity.
And I have been guilty of it, too. Most of my portraits have this missing ingredient. Because I was not aware of it.

This is what I want to focus on more. Catch the authentic moment.

NONCONFORMIST

Dictionary: "a person who refuses to conform, as to established customs, attitudes, or ideas."

The SYSTEM wants people not to stand out. Followers are not a danger and easier to control.
The programming works. People keep a low profile, follow trends, don't give contra and COPY to be part of it.
What happenes to those who go against trends and who think their own thoughts? Exactly!

Look at the pictures! Where did your focus go? To the "followers" or the nonconformist?

There is beauty going against the flow.

Writing this article I just realized, that the one doesn't exist with the other.
So in order for the noconformist to shine, we NEED followers.

But a few more noncoformists wouldn't hurt, no?

PHOTOGRAPHER

"Every photograph someone takes is also a type of self-portrait reflecting them,
because each contains information about the person who made it.
Its visual contents metaphorically represent what was important enough to the photographer's eyes
at that moment that they chose to freeze it permanently.
Even though they may well not be in that picture themselves,
every step of choosing where, when, who, how, and why to take any photograph
says as much about its creator as it does about the subject matter being recorded on film."‚Äč

ANTICIPATION

As a photographer you have to see moments before they happen.

No, a photographer can't see the future.
But with practice you can predict chances for a great moment.

I saw this man with the doughnuts waiting for the green light.
Right behind him. With the man standing there, it was already a great setup (for my taste).
But I was expecting something more. So I was patiently waiting.
And "BOOM" he turned around. You can't imagine how happy I was. He looked straight into my camera.

I saw a great opportunity and expected more.
Can it be that if we expect something (good or bad) that our expectations influence our surrounding?

I like to believe that.
AND
Be aware what I think and expect.

PERSPECTIVE

With the right angle boring ordinary moments can become interesting.

Through the years as a photographer I have learned that there is not only "one" version.
A situation, a problem can be different than it first appears to us.
We are used to believe (through experience) our notions. But can we be wrong?
Yes! We don't like to admit it, but yes we can be wrong about a feeling or impression.
Does it mean to doubt everything? No, let's not get paranoid!
It means that EVERYTHING has different versions.
For example: "confirmation bias".
If we believe something, we are looking for ALL the evidence which confirms our belief.
BUT we leave out the evidence which contradicts our current belief.
So to be on the safe side, we should gather evidence pro and contra ABOUT a belief we have.
AND than make a judgement.

I believe I got my point across or didn't I?

Ok to be sure let's look at an example:

If you believe your partner is unfaithful. Look not only at the things which confirm your belief.
Look also on actions & "evidence" that shows that your partner is faithful.

Whatever the truth is (you probably won't ever know), you should rather act and believe in any situation the positive.
It's better to be proven wrong believing the positive than being proven wrong believing the negative.
Your beliefs influence your actions BIG TIME.

Perspective.

HABITS

Where I live there is not much inspiration for photography. Boring.

That's what I thought. But then I realized that if I am more conscious and stop being robotic about my routine (daily walks around my neighborhood), I "see more".
Habits. The routes we walk, drive or the people we see on a regular basis become flat.

We are used to them. Our brain is lazy, thats why it forms habits to save energy.
Wake up! Put more attention on your daily routine!

LESS IS MORE

Very attractive. In many areas. Also in communication. Not many words necessary. Where in YOUR life can you use LESS?

BEING PRESENT

We all heard that term. Back in the past I associated it with meditation, which wasn't interesting to me.
But I kept on hearing that word many times and did not notice that I have been practicing for years!
Every time when I went out shooting I have being present without knowing it.
We all have thoughts all day. Around 60.000 thoughts in one day!
And mostly those thoughts are about yesterday and tomorrow. And we are not aware of it!
When I go out taking pictures my mind is blank. I do not think about yesterday nor tomorrow.
I am being present. And it is intense. Also I feel more relaxed and happier during and after taking pictures.
Focusing your whole attention in the moment is intense!
How many people are walking around like zombies every day? Being with there thoughts somewhere else?
We are not experiencing the present! The past and the future does not exist! But still we are so occupied with it.
How can you experience the present without meditation? Easy! Right where you are look for things which are red.
Keep on looking. You will suddenly see so many red things! Try it!
Or are you to occupied with your thoughts about "time" which does not exist?
Try it! How did it feel to be present? Did you think about yesterday or tomorrow?

THOUGHTS

Today I saw this man and pulled out my cell phone very fast. What I liked in that moment, was his shirt matching almost the color of the bus. Plus the reflection. This moment made me so happy. I got the picture I wanted!

After I took the picture I sat down with some ice cream and realized how much joy photography gave me over the years.
More than anything else.

This realization is also a benefit of photography. If you keep taking a lot pictures over time, you will get more attentive with your surrounding and with yourself.

CONFIDENCE

When I started taking pictures of strangers in the street, I did not feel comfortable doing it. That was the period when people approached me after I took their picture.
Most of them were not so nice. However, it is legal and I don't use the picutres to put strangers in a bad light. So I kept on doing it.
At some point I felt very comfortable doing it. When I was confident taking pictures from strangers in the street, no one said something!
Isn't that intersting?
That taught me something about confidence! You can read many books about how to be more confident. But that won't make you more confident. No way!
The only way to be more confident, is to do things which are not comfortable for you. That will make you more confident.
And the things which made you nervous in the past will bring you joy one day!
What are you afraid of? Public speaking? Whatever it is, do it. You will feel uncomfortable. But that feeling will stop and you will enjoy it one day!
For photographers: How do you deal with people who complain?
Be nice! Show them the picture you took and explain your project. If someone is angry: Just keep on walking and don't react. Or you can pretend like you took a picture of something behind of them.

SPONTANEOUS STREET PORTRAITS

Just got a thought about portrait photography.

Every human has several faces and moods. You can take many photographers taking a portrait of the same person.
With each photographer you will look different! Not only because the photographers have different styles and experiences.
MAINLY you will look different, because of the connection you have with the photographer.
Which kind of face you see in portraits, is the face someone shows the photographer! And others get to see that particular face, too.

It's fascinating.

MYSTERY

The dictionary says "anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown".

I am very drawn to photos of people where you don't see the face. Also any type of photo where you have to stop and think "what's going on here?"

I can't explain why "incognito" portraits are so attractive to me.
It remains a mystery.....

CREATIVE

What does that word mean?

The dictionary says: "having the quality or power of creating."

Anyone can create, so anyone can be creative.
Sometimes the mind is blank and needs some spice!
What I did is to take some ordinary object in one hand and the camera in the other. No more blank. My mind was on fire!