Why those snapshots matter…

I’ve been considering this a bit over the last few days, thoughts sparked by the Lost Edinburgh Facebook page. If you’ve yet to take a look then mosey on over and feast your eyes on the huge array of Edinburgh pics from bygone years. It’s fascinating stuff.

The more I flicked through these, the more I started to think about how my own photography might endure the next 100 years or so. I focus on 2 differing types of photography, what I like to refer to as my “arty” stuff and the stuff I do for the Real Edinburgh blog. The more “arty” stuff goes to Flickr and what I consider to be more snapshots, to Real Edinburgh.

The blog stuff is by far the easier to take, I go out with just a camera, one lens and that’s it. No remotes, no filters, just me and the camera. While I’ll still compose shots, I worry less about the technical perfections and hence get what I would more term as a snapshot, a quick picture anyone with a modicum of photography skill could have taken even with a compact camera.

What you’ll notice about the Lost Edinburgh stuff is that none of the pics taken there were utilising long exposure techniques, fancy lenses and the likes. Most are simply point, click, picture. Job done and even years on the shots are, if anything, more relevant than when they were taken. They point to a bookmark in time that’s gone, the scene is as it was, not enhanced by modern photographic techniques and that makes it honest and a better historical reflection.

Here’s an example for you.

I would consider this one of my more “arty” shots.

Forth Bridge Winter Sunset Panorama

This was taken with super wide lens, camera on a tripod, using a variety of filters including a 10 stop ND to give a nice long exposure. I think it’s a nice shot but was that really what it looked like down at the bridges that day?

Now consider this shot taken a few weeks earlier also at the Forth Bridges:

Point, click. Job Done.

Which of the 2 in 100 years time do you think will tell more of a story of the day they were taken?

These pictures matter. It’s as important to capture real life as it is to create a piece of art every time you press that shutter. It’s even more important for future generations that they can look back and see how our towns and cities were from a realistic perspective.

Next time your out with a ton of camera gear on your back and your stressing about whether the scene calls for a 0.9 or a 0.6 grad maybe just look about a bit too and forget the technicalities and just press that shutter button and capture a slice of life as it is and do your part in documenting the world for the kids of tomorrow.

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5 responses

  1. I love your work!!

    January 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

  2. i think most of my shots are point and click, and then editing if needed later. i dont have a lot of equipment, so i have to be creative in how i see things. i would love to be more arty, but until i can afford the other stuff … point, click.
    thanks for validating that for me! sometimes i feel like im so limited, but it does tell a story more when you just capture what is there.
    appreciated!
    k☼

    January 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    • Haha. Even I don’t have a lot of equipment. Even my camera’s a hand me down from my mom. 😛

      February 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  3. I love your work because even on your “not arty” stuff, it still looks great! 🙂 Good post.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm

  4. Very “artsy” indeed! Extraordinary, in fact.

    The second photo is straight out of some 1950s B/W film. Kinda eerie.

    February 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

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