My Latin teacher once told my Mom that the reason my grades were so bad was that I was constantly looking out the window, at pigeons on the windowsill for example. It was quite true- Latin didn’t sink into my skull and during those classes I was distracted by other things, all while while daydreaming away. No one knew it then, but that was exactly where my life was heading (not out the window; but being distracted by nature!).
I was soon to realise though, that there were two meaning’s- the second of which only became apparent when I started my photographic career. It came in 2001 and at the point when everything I saw was opening my eyes to image making. It was the days of film and I was starting out, so my thought process was quite different to that of today. To give you an idea of the process, it went something like this:
1. Every time I took an image, cost was involved, as I had to process and print the film.
2. With the thoughts of 1. In my head, I considered and worked on my compositions a lot more.
3. Due to 1. And 2. I daydreamt about my images a lot more so as to save money and more importantly, get better compositions.
In the days of film, this process felt like a hindrance. I never felt I could go wild on my shots. I was always held back, and worked on my compositions to get the best shot. The point is that I was constantly day dreaming about the shots I wanted to get. The true value of this only came home to roost much later in my career though.
Then came digital.
I was free to take as many images as I wanted. And I did- I was liberated to shoot what I liked as much as I liked, and from that would come the good shots. Or would they?
I indulged in my photography and enjoyed the digital medium thoroughly. But I found I shot more off the cuff and taking images that caught my attention. Only after a few years did I realise that I had not been daydreaming as much. When I realised this it caused me to reconsider my approach- greatly.
I reassessed how I photographed in the film days and noticed how much I had photo day dreamt. I realised that what I thought was a hindrance as a film photographer, had actually been excellent training for my photography. Having to consider the worth of every single image makes you seriously consider if your photograph is good enough. Hence the day dreaming- thinking about the ‘perfect shot’.
So as a digital photographer, I started to daydream again and it changed my whole approach. The points 1,2 and 3 were very relevant (even though print costs aren’t involved any more) and are now a drive in my creative process.
Guess what, I shoot less, but with better results. Why, cause I was looking for specific images- those that will fill my dreams.
My advise to you is to slow down your photography and photo day dream a bit more. I’ve found it a beautifully valuable lesson that took me years to appreciate, although I’m not entirely sure my Latin teacher will agree!