Lamott, Gross & Shapiro
I really like this idea in Gross & Shapiro's reading on freedom from a sense of self that merging of self with the photographic subject matter is a prerequisite if one's vision is to be effectively expressed in the language of photography. When they include Henri Cartier-Bresson's suggestion that a photographer must merge with the environment, like a fish in water, forgetting yourself, I feel really connected to that. I feel like my best work comes out when I really immerse myself into the environment I'm in. I try and imagine what the scene would look like without my presence and how I can represent my subject in a hailey-less/camera-less way. I think maybe that's why I always feel like the photos I create are simply happy accidents, because I forget that I actually know what I'm doing and solely focus on how to best represent my subject in their surroundings.
The second Gross & Shapiro reading talks about spontaneity. I also agree with the fact that the best photographs are the ones you don't go in knowing will happen. I also think that subjects are often uncomfortable with a camera in their face, rather than the photographer's own face so some of the best reactions or moments can be missed if you aren't quick to react or can't anticipate that a big moment is about to happen. I think something that really can stump photographers is when the don't have the perfect setup or conditions to work in, however photographers must be flexible in order to get quality material. You can really get creative when you have to figure out how to work your shots in different conditions.
In Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, she talks about the magic and anticipation that comes with polaroid cameras. She talks about taking a photo of her school lunch bag and once it developed she realized there was a boy leaning against the wall in the background. Unfortunately, with the development of digital cameras, we have lost this anticipation or unknowing of what we're capturing. While in the past things weren't noticed at first, we now have the ability to fully recognize each part of the photos we're taking. This makes for a much more efficient form of photographing, but it's now very easy to make images as well. I believe it takes a certain eye to get the images that really pack a punch. A quote I really liked from this section was, You just knew that there was something about these people that compelled you, and you stayed with that something long enough for it to show you what it was about" This reminds me the advice given to photographers to "arrive early and stay late".