The Road Before Us

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These days everybody is a photographer. But the obvious split between taking snaps with a camera phone, or making Photographs with a camera had me wondering about a question that has been asked over and over. “How do I get better at photography, and can I offer some advice?” My response would be, go out and constantly work at it, by making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, teaching yourself and sticking with it through the months and years. Essentially there is no magic solution to getting better, you just have to go out and put in the work. When I started I had lots of questions and I answered most of them myself. Sure, the vast majority of what I learned I did by myself out in one corner of the world or another. I read a lot too. And looked at a lot of photography books. But mostly I was out there with my cameras thinking and exposing.

But there is a trap one can fall into when one reaches a certain point. They can look back at the road they have walked and forget how difficult it was at times, especially in the beginning. One can also easily forget that what might work for you may not work for someone else. For some of us, the best way we learn is out there on our own doing trial and error, but for others the best way they learn is through collaboration or mentoring. Perhaps not everyone has the innate confidence to go out there and fail, perhaps they need to have someone help them learn that confidence. Perhaps for them going out on their own to learn is not the goal, perhaps it is to learn in the company of others.  At the same time, memory is a dangerous thing to rely on too much and our memory of our journey from amateur to accomplished is likely glossed over in parts and skewed in others. If you have been making photographs for years and years do you really think you remember what it was like to be a complete beginner? I doubt I do, I would tend to doubt you do as well. But we think we do, and that is where it gets tricky.

We should also remember that we often take different paths through this realm and our destinations are often different as well. This can be tricky to keep in mind, I know, I have to remind myself of this constantly as well.

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For Instance whenever I travel to a different city I tend to find one (or two) features of that city and really hone in on them. For example, during my first visit to Paris I spent a lot of time finding every angle of the Eiffel Tower that I could. I find that having something like this to focus on helps me keep an eye out for peculiar angles I might have otherwise missed. Part of that is the process of photographing something you are so intent upon. For example, if my goal is to find as many different perspectives on this building as I can discover, I’ll walk extra lengths around it, or I’ll make sure to keep its location vaguely on my radar so that I’ll glance down every alley that leads off in that direction just in case there is an unexpected view. The goal is not to produce a collection of images of this building, but rather give me something in an unfamiliar city to pay attention to and become familiar with. And when you are a bit adrift in a strange town, visually overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to sort it all out photographically, I find that this technique can help give me solid creative ground to start to work from.

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Anyway, just sharing some thoughts.

http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Veiled Longings

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I believe we all have a longing that one day we would like to live somewhere, have a house somewhere.

I believe that’s a longing for something inside; there is a place inside where that serenity exists.

Safe and sound with yourself. It is something I long for and I am working towards it in the most practical way possible.

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I looked back and glimpsed the outline of a boy
His life of sorrows now collapsing into joy.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

A Moment

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So often you head out into the world as a photographer knowing what you are looking for. I knew what I wanted to find on this trip recently. It was going to be beautiful autumn colours, ancient trees and maybe a lake or two. But as is often the case, it is the unexpected scenes you find along the way that can be the most enjoyable. You don’t step out the door thinking that what you want to find is a quiet abandoned table and chairs under the soft light of twilight with the leaves blowing in the wind and the  birds chirping. These things are more difficult to expect and anticipate, and it is probably wise to not try. Rather it is better to just be open to seeing them in a glimpse as you pass by on a country lane and having the presence of mind to turn around and go back. Life is a collection of the big moments and the small, the grand scenes and the quiet ones, so it is therefore no surprise that photographing one’s life is also comprised of the same components.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Blowing My Own Trumpet

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Most of my photography is sparse and dark. I will try to explain.

Looking at my Photographs is like being alone in a room with yourself, or even a step worse. My images are introspective in a way that makes some people really nervous. The kind of person who immediately turn on the TV when they are alone don’t get my Photography – it makes them terribly uncomfortable.

After all is said and done, I photograph to see how the world looks photographed. And as they say the camera lens is a window to the soul……….

This image was made well into dusk. I was into that time of night where you lose a stop every few minutes and I was working with an initial exposure of several minutes as to be effected by this phenomenon. But I really liked the faint glow of colour coming from the moon and sky across the open field and I don’t make enough photos of autumn colour in the gloom of evening.

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/

Good Hair Day

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Finally made it to the local hairdresser. What a drive. Through woods bathed in autumn glow, past abandoned cottages, ever deeper into the forest, until you arrive at Johns house. I captured him on Ferrania film which is waiting to be developed.

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Meanwhile here are a couple of images to enjoy.

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Vernon Sinclair with the curly red hair
Breaks into Trinity church on a dare
Where the pastor hides a camera
To capture the rapture the day that it comes

Vernon gets afraid and runs

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And as we play out these parts in the relative dark
They hand you a script
And then they pick you apart
Memorise all your lines
But the most you can hope to be an extra
If they let you

All the while you felt so alone
And you were not alone…
You’re never alone

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http://www.berndkugow.photos/