The subject of the picture is always more important than the picture

The title of this post is taken from a quote by photographer Diane Arbus.
It’s a very short statement, but actually, when you stop for a minute and reflect upon the words she used, she might just have been right…and it’s a profound observation on this art we call photography. All too often we get caught up in the need to perfect our favourite method of expression. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m all for improving my work and regularly seek opportunities to do so, but as I travel on my own photographic journey, I find myself becoming less hung up on the pursuit of perfection and am learning, that sometimes ‘good enough’ is just that, good enough.

For me personally this has manifested itself in a couple of different ways. It means I think about my image-making before I press the shutter and so I don’t ‘rattle off’ 10 images of the same thing. As a result, I don’t delete nearly as many images as I used to, and from time to time I keep photographs which are not technically perfect, but they contain something which strikes a chord with me – which as the quote by Diane Arbus alludes to is usually the subject. So whilst wandering through this little write up, please bear this in mind and that whilst the images in this blog are not award-winning images, they give me pleasure, and I hope they do you too.

First up, a ‘save the date’ shoot with a young friend and her fiancé. Kayleigh and Jamie are getting married in July next year, so when she contacted me to ask if I’d help with a slightly different way of reminding people to keep the date free I jumped at the chance. Kayleigh makes the most exquisite cup-cakes so we had to weave them into the image. I had a small table and a pretty tablecloth, we were blessed with the weather and a reasonably quiet location on the Duke’s Drive in Chester and this is the image we made together. Due to the small size of the cakes in the overall image, quite a lot of work was required in post-processing to ensure the message was clear enough to read, but we got there and the reminders have now been sent out to all the wedding guests.

The evening after, I found myself on an academy evening with Welshot, shooting models with studio flash, our three models were professional and accommodating, with 24 enthusiastic photographers wanting to make great images.

The very next day I had a lovely day out with a dear friend and we met at Chester Zoo for a catch up and photographic walkabout.  Chester Zoo is quite simply fabulous, it has supported numerous conservation programmes to both reintroduce and protect some of the worlds’ most wonderful animals.  Jill and I visited on one of the hottest days of the year, and the only slight disappointment was that the recently born tiger cubs did not make a public appearance. That said, we saw lots of other lovely baby animals, the inhabitants of the butterfly house were beautiful, the baby elephants were particularly cute and flowers dotted around the zoo brought an added colourful dimension to our visit.

Zoo 1 copy Zoo 2 copy Zoo 3 copy

I take inspiration from a variety of sources, and I have a couple of favourite magazines from where I draw the same, these include Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, The Hunger and Love, they are colourful, glossy repositories of exciting and vibrant images.  It was one of the adverts, in Vogue I think, which prompted me to set up a GI Jane styled shoot with Rachel.  Having sourced a shirt, hat, aviator shades and a dog tag necklace for around £10, I knew Rachel possessed shorts and boots, so all I needed to find was a suitable location.  I asked fellow ‘tog Tim Charlesworth of Bont Photography to join us as we’d worked together before and he knew Rachel, and off we set. It was with a touch of disappointment that on arrival at a location I’d used before, we found the gateway barred and barbed-wire on the top of the fencing. There was no way Rachel was climbing over that in shorts and I’m too old for that caper, so we resorted to plan B, a disused landfill site, with permissive access, just across the road from where Rachel and I live. We parked the cars, and proceeded to spend a lovely couple of hours with our patient and professional model creating some pretty fabulous images using off camera flash, reflectors and natural light.  There was however a moment of consternation as we returned to our cars as neither Tim nor I could open them – to this day we don’t know why, but eventually the central locking worked on both cars. It was a bit spooky to say the least!

Rach-13 Rachel 20-07-13-2 Rachel 20-07-13-3 Rachel 20-07-13-5

Ness Gardens was my next port of call.  I grew up a few miles from this lovely botanical garden, it was a favourite haunt when I was given my first SLR and I still have some of the images from those days of film and nearly 30 years on, it’s still well worth a visit. With my long-suffering husband carrying my bag and tripod, I spent a lovely couple of hours in the warm summer sunshine, capturing the plants in all their glory.  I also tried a few more abstract shots…I quite like them but think I need a bit more practice.

Montage #1 copy Ness Gardens-1 copy

My final excursion for July saw me zipping up the A55 and the Coast Road with Gill McGowan in her Ford KA (yes, with the roof down – think Thelma and Louise – actually, no don’t – we are both lovely but we’re not Geena and Susan!) as we headed for the Rhyl Marsh Tracks.  Now this was a challenge I’d not attempted before, catching moving subjects and boy did they move! With legs pedalling like pistons, I found my reaction time left a little to be desired and that I’d often pressed the shutter long after the riders were half way around the track. However with a bit of help from my Welshot friends, I was soon snapping the crew in action.  It’s quite important to get the motivation for the image, which usually means including the ground as the riders take off or land.  In addition there were lots of opportunities to shoot stunning silhouettes thanks to a stunning sunset. I liked one of mine so much it’s my timeline picture on my Ashfield Images Facebook page. The end of the night saw us photographing the riders using flash and freezing the action.  It was a most enjoyable evening and one I hope to repeat in the future.

BMX 26-07-13-1 copy BMX 26-07-13-2 copy BMX 26-07-13-5 copy BMX 26-07-13-7 copy BMX 26-07-13-8 copy_1 BMX 26-07-13-10 copy BMX 26-07-13-21 copy BMX 26-07-13-30 copy BMX 26-07-13-31 copy BMX 26-07-13-32 copy

So there you have it, my July in pictures!

Until next time

T xx


About te761086

I'm a qualified professional part-time photographer living in the UK. My passion is people photography but I'm always happy to learn about new techniques. I've recently made the transition from DSLR to a mirror-less system from FUJI and have a renewed zest for my photography.
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2 Responses to The subject of the picture is always more important than the picture

  1. Lee Iggulden says:

    Hey You.

    This is great. I mean REALLY Great.

    I thought it was your newsletter at first but then I remembered I had subscribed to your blog so I get informed immediately it gets published.

    Thank you for the mention.

    Pop me onto your newsletter distribution as well – and I can then forward it on to people I know with animals.

    Me xxx

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