Making photographs is not like riding a bicycle

What started as a slightly flippant tweet has made me think more about photographic processes, especially after what feels like a long time away from making images (and I am not really talking about the Danny MacAskill type of cycling!).

There is a ‘proper’ explanation for why we do not forget how to ride a bicycle, but my point in the tweet was to suggest that it takes me time to rediscover how I might make images that work for me.  Picking up a camera again was easy enough, and doing the mechanistic things was straightforward – settings, pleasing compositions etc. – but since the beginning of the year I feel as if I’ve been relearning what it means to make images that I like, that speak to me – and by that I mean more than just being pleasing.

Early February 2015: A good walk not spoiled

Early February 2015: A good walk not spoiled

Producing images that communicate something more, that relate emotionally is more of a challenge than producing pleasing images.  I used to buy disposable cameras to explore this kind of thing.  Now I’ve just been making lots of digital images, partly on a DSLR, partly with my iPhone.  I’ve even opened an EyeEm account, though I may not keep that going for long.  Gradually, I feel I’m getting the hang of things again, through a lot practice.

On Saturday I went for a 5 hour walk into the Fintry Hills with the large format camera.  That’s a heavy bag to carry that long – I had intended to be out for just a couple of hours, but was enjoying being out a bit too much to go home so soon, and just decided to keep going.  I have been out the large format camera several times recently, but this time I even took it out of the bag and made a photograph (now I just need to get it processed).  It felt good – regardless of how the image turns out, I felt I was connecting with myself again, and the camera was enabling me to express that.  Last year’s bout of depression may actually have been overcome, at least for now.  And that’s not all just down to chocolate, but to the love of those around me, in real life and in virtual life, for which I am tremendously grateful.  Having said that, chocolate has a key part to play, too: