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Newport News canoes


Sigh.
Here’s one of my favorite images from my “walk in the woods” posting mentioned earlier. It’s not art…but I like it.
 
I’ve also got a little secret for you: not everything is art. 
 
More often, photos can be classified as “interesting.” That opinion springs from my day job as a photo editor for a newspaper. On busy days, I see hundreds of images shot by pros (although lately, an increasing amount are being shot by amateurs). One of the hardest things I have to do is to sit down and edit long projects with photographers. I call this “kill their babies” sessions. These give and take discussions normally center around storytelling and technique — mostly storytelling. They almost always involve compromise and leave me with a better idea about what’s going on inside the photographer’s mind as he/she shoots the assignment.
 
This sort of constructive feedback is vital for a working pro and I do my best to make time for these face-to-face meetings. Amateurs are a different breed, however. Now that I’ve been editing pictures full time for more than a decade, I’m more convinced than ever that amateur photographers need the same sort of support system to stay energized and motivated to do their “thang” every day.
 
Feedback from others is nice. Positive feedback even nicer. That’s one reason I try to start my day in front of the computer looking at photos from the many amateur photo blogs and forums I frequent. When I see something I like, I let the photographer know with an “attaboy” or “great frame” comment. The business of photography can be brutal. It’s highly competitive and stressful for the working pro. That’s why going to these sites is so refreshing to me.
 
The digital photography revolution provided every aspiring photographer the tools to express him/her self at a much higher level than in the days of film. It’s absurdly simple to create images that are sharp and properly exposed. This has led way too many amateurs to believe that if every photo of their favorite car, pet, girlfriend (sometimes nude), tree (always nude), etc. is well exposed and sharp, it’s at the pinnacle of photo artistry.
 
Think that if it gives you comfort.
 
Great photography takes patience, creativity and the drive to communicate a feeling with others. Sometimes it is captured as a grab shot with a point and shoot or…shudder the thought…a cell phone, but most times it isn’t. So, challenge yourself to ask “what does this photo really say to me” before making the shallow “attaboy” or “great frame” comment. If it moves you, it’s art. If it doesn’t, say so, constructively.
 
My photo above? It’s just a picture of canoes. While they carry might carry others, this photo doesn’t move me. I’ll try again. There’s still room on my memory card and plenty of pixels left.
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