Creativity and technique Archive

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Photography : the importance of staying open-minded

‘If at first you don’t succeed – failure may be your thing.’ Attributed to George Burns (1896-1996) As a comedian, George Burns often had his tongue firmly in his cheek – never more so than here. Fortunately, I ignored his advice when a friend challenged me to take a photograph of ‘wetness’.

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Staying creative as a photographer

I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions for 2018. It feels like an overrated pastime that relies on willpower. I’m more interested in finding ways of staying creative. Paradoxically, 2017 ended on a creative high for me because I was forced to shoot close to home. Being restricted, I had a blunt

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Curiosity killed the cat

‘The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.’  Ellen Parr Curiosity gets a bad press – people often confuse it with being nosy. So if someone tells you that curiosity killed the cat, they probably mean you should mind your own business. As a photographer, you’re then left

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Photography : black and white or colour?

For many years a friend teased me. She would praise one of my black and white photos, then suggest that colour might have worked better. Smiling, I’d explain that I preferred black and white, before changing the subject. But when I moved to Zambia, the choice didn’t feel so clear-cut. Suddenly, faced

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The KISS principle in photography

Don’t worry – I’m not preaching free love. Today I’m more interested in photo composition. KISS – an acronym for ‘Keep it simple, stupid’ – gained widespread currency in the 1960s. And more recently the phrase has inspired an entire series of books. If you want to learn fashion design in a

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Photography : drawing with light

That’s what photography means – drawing with light. Whether you aim your camera at the scene of a tragedy or a sunset, you’re drawing with light. Since being named, photography has grown up a lot and been used in so many ways : to tell stories, to express wonder, to share emotions.

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Black and white digital workflow : some brief thoughts

When living in the UK, I only used film cameras and shot almost exclusively in black and white. I still love traditional ‘wet prints’ made in a darkroom, but for practical reasons I went digital in 2016. Here in Zambia, photo chemicals and papers have to be specially imported and I don’t

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Photography : staying inspired

‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he or she grows up.’ Pablo Picasso As a photographer, it can be hard to stay inspired. When I’m feeling grumpy, I tell myself that it’s all been done before, so why bother? Why indeed? Because when you’re in

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Ways into street photography

‘Street photography’ : say it out loud. How does it make you feel? I have mixed emotions – a thrill of anticipation, sometimes followed by anxiety. So today I’m going to suggest ways of overcoming any fears you might have. Don’t always photograph people : typical street photos have people in them,

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10,000 not out : improving your photography

Are your photos getting better? Henri Cartier-Bresson said that your first 10,000 would be your worst. I think he was trying to be encouraging – I hope so. I’m going to dodge the thorny question of what makes a good photo, because it’s too subjective (and too vague). A better starting point