2021 11 05
Everything is important

For a long time, cars were a problem for me to photograph. Every time I photographed a car it came out badly.

It wasn’t that I photographed it incorrectly. It wasn’t that I picked the wrong aperture, or lens, or shot too near or far from my subject. It was an emotional  issue, not a technical issue. I just didn’t care that much about what I was photographing and my not caring about cars showed up in the photographs I took. My pictures of cars weren’t very good.  

But not photographing cars wasn’t the answer. Cars are hard to avoid, especially in Los Angeles where I live. And if you’re a photographer, not photographing something just because it’s difficult for you is a road to failure, so what happened? The pandemic did. I had to start to spend less time in my photo studio with real people and more time outside with - you guessed it - cars. Cars were more visible everywhere I went during the pandemic. Cars parked in front of houses. Cars on their way somewhere. Cars were taking up more visual space with more people staying inside so I started to pay attention to them differently.

I had to really notice where and how cars sat within my camera’s frame. I had to treat cars more like an actual subject. Something to bring attention, and intention, to. Why was I choosing to have this particular car sit in this particular place within my camera’s frame? What color was it? What was the car doing? What did the car add to the picture’s meaning, if any? This is still a work in progress - like everything else I take pictures of - but I learned a valuable lesson. The more you care, the more intention you bring to your subject, the better chance you have to make a good photograph. Now I treat everything within my frame, whatever it is, however seemingly insignificant it may appear to be, the same way - as something important. Hopefully that will lead to better pictures.