NATURE

All images ©ericweight 2016

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I always used to believe that photography was an art form, and I suppose I still accept that it can be, but the irony of becoming a better photographer is that one realises that most of it is just formulaic nonsense. Images that I once dreamt of capturing now seem contrived and uninteresting. The very fact that as cameras become ever more efficient, more people take photographs that would not so long ago have been thought of as outstanding, suggests that the majority of photography is not art but simply the proficient use of equipment. The world is absolutely awash with superb photographs of the natural world, perfect in every detail and mostly taken using either elaborate set-ups and/or habituated wildlife. Indeed many ‘wildlife photographers’ are doing little more than working their way through a list of standard shots, even to the extent of buying opportunities on other photographers sets. It’s not my thing, but I have no quarrel with those who choose to follow this path. Sadly however I do believe that this entire process has seriously devalued wildlife photography to the point where it has little point.

The camera’s greatest asset is its immediacy. It can capture a fleeting moment for ever. It is a news tool, recording for posterity actual events, situations, people or moments in history. A painting on the other hand, while it can illustrate those same subjects does so entirely at the whim of the artist. A photograph records exactly what is in front of it by repeatable mechanical means. An artist may paint the same scene, but it will be his opinion and skill that ends up on the canvas, not the inevitable product of this paint and that brush.

So what has that got to do with this journal? Well, now that I know enough to understand all of this, I find it very hard to maintain my interest in wildlife photography. What is the point in making a photograph that hundreds if not thousands of other people have already done as well if not better? Consequently my photographic output has been negligible this year. In fact I have come to the conclusion that the true worth of anybody’s photography can only really be appreciated by taking the whole body of their work into account. A single amazing photograph is probably going to be the product of more luck than judgement. The whole catalogue will illustrate one persons view of the world that they move in and a collection of average images can often tell a better story than a collection of immaculately crafted set pieces. The photographer will tell his or her story most simply and effectively by the choices they make when deciding to press the shutter. Over the long haul the photographer’s work says more about him or her than he is saying about the subject.

I have put a few up here that I like from the lean months. None of them are that good, but they do add another brick to the wall.  As the world around me is becoming more urban, less wildlife friendly and less to my liking, my photography is set to diversify. Somebody else will have to decide when I am gone whether I was wasting my time. Whatever conclusion they may come to I don’t care now and I certainly won’t be bothered then, so let’s just see what happens shall we? And for better or worse, this is my world as I see it now.

My nature