April 08, 2011

The first rule ...

Not many people knew that I was once making a living as a photographer ... for a few years during my mid 20s, I dabbled in photography. Those days I had 12 cameras, ranging from 35mm Nikons to 120mm medium format Hasselblads to a large format bellow-type Horseman. Cost me an arm and a leg to acquire these babies ... but that career did not last long and at the end of it, I sold all but one medium format Mamiya which I still have in one of my drawers somewhere.

OK, I am not here to talk about my short-lived photography career. Actually what I wanted to talk about is the first rule of photography and how this discipline influenced the way I look at things in my everyday life. For those who don’t know, the first rule of photography is “Never shoot a photo at eye level” ... why? Because everyone sees it at the same level ... so an object (or subject) of interest photographed at eye level is no different than how it was seen by others when it was photographed. This rule is always on the top of my mind. So very often I don’t see things the way people normally sees it. I am a curious person and I like to approach things a little off the centre. At times people find it difficult to understand this and they think I am wandering too far out of the comfort zone. That is exactly the point ... when all others look at things at eye level, a good photographer will get out of his or her comfort zone to find a different angle and make the difference. So I ask the same ... for people to look at me from a different level too ... that way, they may be able to understand me better.

Everyone likes to see things at their comfort level and always think that people will see things at the same level ... that is the norm. Sometimes one needs to get out of the norm ... don’t look at things the way everyone looks at it and also understand why some people look at things differently ... maybe then one can actually “see the whole picture”, so to speak.

So the next time you want to photograph something, apply the first rule ... try squatting or lying down for a different angle or maybe stand on a chair for a top view ... it may turn out (if not better, at least it is) different than how others see it. And also when you look at a photograph and thought it looks a bit out of the norm, try to appreciate why it was shot that way ... and maybe do the same for the way you look at things in your everyday life ... it can be much more appealing this way.


Anonymous said...

hi shiek,

hooe u r recovering well by now. Tis is a great piece of msg i get today on looking things at diff angle. I also got to learn tat d 1st rule of photography is never shoot at eye level. It is synonymous to d quot 'the road less travelled' where we discover more... Guess tst is d reason i like reading ur articles as they are messages to bring back.



samo said...

Good advice..

Hope you are on the mend chief!


Stone Shiek said...

Hi HL, thanks for your concerns .. am recovering well and already doing some light trekking :)

Stone Shiek said...

Sam .. thanks bro ... recovering well ... up and running already !