Tara bought a new camera a few weeks ago. A real one – that is to say, it’s not just built into her phone. Quite frankly, it’s turned her into a new person. She is suddenly taking fabulous photographs with vibrant colors and stunning detail. For instance…
Shut up, right?
Here’s another one.
Suddenly, I’m feeling inadequate. Because my photos pale in comparison. To wit:
OK, I kid. My pictures are still pretty decent, I suppose…
When I complimented Tara on her kick-ass photo skills, she got all modest and said, “Anybody can take a picture.” That may be true, but taking a good picture requires talent. It’s not just about lining up your subject in the view finder and pushing the shutter button; you’ve got to have a keen eye for detail. Composition, framing, lighting – all of these factor into your shot. I have never taken an actual photography class and couldn’t care less about apertures and f-stops, but I do feel like I’ve got a pretty good sense of what makes for a good photograph.
I chalk it up to my right brain dominance. People who identify as right-brain thinkers are creative artistic types, while left-brainers tend to favor math and science, and are considered logical thinkers. Seeing as how I nearly flunked geometry but have written and published a novel, I think it’s pretty obvious which side of my brain is workin’ harder. Not to mention the fact that I’ve dated some real crazies in my life, so we know I’m coming up short in the logic department.
In reality, this right brain versus left brain theory may be more of a myth than we’ve been led to believe, but let’s just pretend it’s relevant for the sake of this argument.
My point is, I believe that photography is largely a natural born skill. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. If you don’t, you can read all the books you want to on the subject, but they’re not going to improve your shots. Much, anyway. Sure, you’ll pick up some technical knowledge, but you have to be innately artistic to begin with. It’s like cooking: anybody can follow a recipe, but a chef has an overall vision that he is able to transfer to the plate.
A good photographer has a different way of looking at the world, and is able to convey what he/she sees to the masses on a 4″ by 6″ rectangle. Or, these days, via a smartphone screen. I think Tara and I take pretty good pictures because of how we visualize the world around us.
We’re also both pretty good cooks, come to think of it.
Here’s one more from the missus.
Ain’t nothing lucky about that clover. It’s pure skill, baby.