The end of the year is always a time for reflection - and you know how much I love a reflection! I’ve been putting together a gallery of favourite images that I have taken over the year and it is encouraging to review the journey that I have been on. This is particularly evident when I look back further than a year.
For me, photography continues to be a huge learning experience. However, I do find that, as I develop my skills and hone my vision, the steps of progress becomes smaller and smaller. I suppose that when I first picked up a camera I learned a lot at every stage. This is where the perspective of a year (or more) is an advantage and so much more rewarding. My progress today seems to be more about attention to detail and fine tuning.
There’s an inevitability that some of the most recent shots will be favourites - not necessarily because they are better (despite my comment above) but simply because they carry the fresh excitement of a new piece. This will mellow over time.
It’s interesting for me to note that there is far more colour this year. I have never found colour easy - at various stages opting for too much and completely over-saturating. I really struggled with it. I would look enviously at the work of Ernst Haas, Fred Herzog, Saul Leiter and those they have inspired today. I still do and have much to learn but it’s encouraging to see a better quality in my colour work beginning to come through. Interacting with some of these photographers on social media, and even meeting a few in the flesh, has been invigorating and ensured that the challenge remains.
Finally, let me say something about light. Immersing myself in photography magazines and books, I would read about the importance of light, chasing light, seeking light, following light… This year I feel that I have begun to gain an understanding of light and that is what has made the greatest difference to my images. I have paid more attention to the quality, direction and strength of light and I believe it shows in what I have produced.
The exciting things is that I know none of this is about achievement but is more about progress. The images from this year represent where I am now. Another stepping stone in the river of development. I know enough to know that the other side remains intangible but still something to strive for. May we never stop learning.