Saturday Evening Post: #34 Getting Close

It is said of famous battle photographer Robert Capa, when asked by a collegue why his photos weren’t good enough, responded, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”

It’s easy at first blush to believe that Capa meant, well, get out of the trench and get close to the action. However it is more than likely that his comment had a much deeper meaning of getting close to the subject in an intimate knowledgeable way.

It’s about a matter of experiencing. And as bird photographers we chase distant subjects with the longest lenses, and its hard to establish a feeling of the intimate from a distance.

For us its a matter of spending time, respecting the subject, and allowing the time to wonder. I really believe one of the great gifts of photography is that it teaches us to see. And not just what we see,

but,

How we see it.

So much so that I can say, with some degree of wonder, that the camera has opened my eyes to the world around me. Not just the natural, but the human. Some of it from the dark side, but also from the beauty. It’s not a perfect world, but I don’t want to discuss that here.

The gift helps us to learn to see. Moments of interaction of shape, light, line colour, slow down.
And we make space for wonder at the world around us and the brillance of the amazing medium we have to share those moments with others.

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6 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post: #34 Getting Close

  1. So well said. It helps me to see so much more because I really look at what I am photographing, whether it is a bird, or a tree, or a tiny orchid. And there is a real magic in what our amazing cameras and lenses can reveal to us. How lucky we are.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Eleanor, and I think we are very fortunate to live at a time when the equipment in high quality is so readily available and we have the most excellent way to share it via the web.

      I’ve bags (literally) of slide, and files of negatives, that will never see the light of day again. And I just can’t be bothered scanning them, try as I might. 🙂

      Like

  2. Indeed, photography does make us more observant, even when we don’t have camera in hand. Yes sometimes we also see the darker side of life and the world, and sometimes that also needs to be shared, in the right forum, in the hope that it may bring change. Fine shots of the Falcon, David!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some of the best images of the darker side I think as an example of getting close are the “Minamata Series”, by W. Eugene Smith. He went to Japan on a simple assigement, and stayed for many months, getting close to the people who were suffering. In the end, it was more like family album shots than documentary.
      Yet,
      It changed the system.
      More power to Gene, more power to photographic content.

      Like

  3. I see so much more when I review my photos at home due to having to us telescopic lens and the fact that my eyesight is diminishing. Thanks David for this meditation on the wonder of photography and what we capture. Robert Capa is right their is an element of courage and commitment if one is to achieve their very best image, making each special image all the more memorable and precious to its author. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I Love Photography. It’s been my chosen medium for over 50 years. It all started right after I failed Miss Martin’s art class, because I dared to colour oustide the lines. 🙂
      It’s been kind to me, its been hard on me, and its bought both tears of joy and tears of frustration. Yet I still recall the first time I picked up a camera and pointed at our cat, “Blackie”, and made a photo.
      One of the greatest parts of my journey has been the amazing photographers that I’ve met, worked with, and shared both life and images. Everything I really learned was freely given, and I still try to maintain that philosophy.
      Keep takin’ pictures. We do!

      Liked by 1 person

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