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John Morrison

Sociable... or solitary??

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Photography, for me, is an essentially solitary pursuit. I don’t want to have to persuade anyone to stay in one place for an hour, in case the light gets “interesting”. And the thought of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with hordes of other photographers gives me palpitations. How about you??

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Solitary, but I am lucky to have my pal Fabrice who is also a photographer. We go out together, sometimes we shoot together, sometimes apart. But non-photographers are best left behind - nothing worse than a non-photographer getting agitated or bored because I have spent half an hour shooting the same thing.

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For me it is mostly solitary. At other times I enjoy being sociable, but I really love the peace and total absorption of just being out on my own taking pics. It is like a meditation. If I'm travelling with others I tend to feel like I'm being annoying if I keep wanting to stop to do photography. I have enjoyed doing night photography with other photographers in a small group though. The main thing is taking care to not get in the way of each others' shots!

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Nearly all my assignment work involves photographing people and I am good with that.  I am very sociable when it comes to meeting these strangers and chatting with them while getting them comfortable to be photographed.  For some people, including myself, they would rather be at the dentist, than being photographed.   I always try to find some sort of common denominator that we can talk about and there always is something...it helps make people feel more calm, I think.  Having said all that, I work alone at home doing the editing and other "office" work and I love that alone time.  Very happy to be to spend hours at the computer with my playlist music playing in the background.  So I am both, a guess I am a social introvert...that's a thing right?

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While I like to shoot diverse subjects, my main interest and challenge is in people photography. I enjoy the interaction with other photographers and I get a  lot of questions about my equipment because not everybody carries a full frame DSLR around anymore. Definitely an extrovert.

I am constantly trying to challenge myself...like can I eat that whole pizza by myself? 🤔

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sally R said:

I really love the peace and total absorption of just being out on my own taking pics. It is like a meditation.

 

That's me, too. I never get bored, just watching the light change. But it's not an experience I want to share...

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Definitely solo most of the time.  Occasionally wife is along but she's competent with photography and so is understanding. 

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Both for me. I love chatting with people and making them comfortable whether it is an editorial assignment or they have hired me to take their portrait, but I also love the peace and quiet of being out in nature or traveling somewhere I haven't been before, waiting for the right light and/or finding interesting things to photograph. I also love the research involved in keywording, and can get lost for hours learning about new places as well as processing images, sometimes changing them completely in my fine art work, and sometimes just a quick adjustment. I need both the social interaction and that quiet alone time. I don't like the boring alone time spent reviewing and trying to choose which images are best or the drudgery of uploading, but then this is work and I feel lucky to spend so much of my time doing something that I really love most of the time. I also enjoy interacting with clients while they choose which images they like best, as well as the fun of showing my photos to others during a show, and answering their questions about my work.

 

I also enjoy interacting with other photographers, learning new things and find most of my colleagues to be helpful and friendly, a welcome change from the years I spent as a New York trial lawyer when my job necessitated that I spend about half my time fighting with my colleagues LOL.

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Solitary. Once upon a time, when I also did travel writing, I used to get invited on group press trips. I was always looking for chances to politely sneak away with my camera. Often I'd stay on after the trip at my own expense just to wander around alone and take photos. I agree, photography is at its best when it's a form of contemplation.That doesn't always work with stock photography. However, even it can have its Zen-like  moments.

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Majority will probably chose solitary (but there is no right or wrong answer!).  I am also in solitary group, allows me to focus on what I am trying to capture -- not to mention ever more difficult struggle to get out people out of landscape or travel frame, which are my main subjects.

 

In regard to this, here is little story most will find interesting:  1st week of Feb I spent 3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Angkor Wat!   And then there is probably most famous sunrise in the world:  (not my photo, took one from Alamy collection for illustration):

hdr-sunrise-over-angkor-wat-F2R0HK.jpg

 

Now get this:   Gate opens at 5 am.  Sunrise was ~6:30 am.  So you think you can be here ~6:15 am, set up tripod, etc??  Think again!   4:45 am there was lineup in front of the gate. Then when they opened at 5am,  human stampede rolled in.  Now there is fairly limited space  by this little pond where you can set your tripod and have unobstructed view.  If you get in here even 5:10 am, it looks like sports arena.  I am not exaggerating.  I might even upload reverse photo I took later showing all the people 'photographing' with their smartphones, it is quite ridiculous.

 

What did I do? Pond is about 10min casual walk from the gate, I am fit so I got through right at 5am and I sprinted.  I was there first & I got the spot.  Then 1.5 hrs wait mostly in dark, surrounded by hordes, waiting.   This was the price to pay for "Photographing Angkor Wat Sunrise", and one of best examples I can find why I prefer solitude.

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14 hours ago, Rico said:

 

 

can I eat that whole pizza by myself? 🤔

 

 

Everybody can. It's a natural human function.

 

Alan

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Mostly solitary, of course. Most serious photographers would probably say the same. However, if you happen to find someone else who understands...

 

When I met my ex-wife years ago she wasn't that bothered about photographs. She's a very spiritual person who immerses herself in the natural world around her and couldn't see the point of 2-dimensional representations. I told her that for me, a good photograph could re-capture the emotion that I felt at the time I took it, but she was sceptical... until after our first holiday together when she looked at my pics and said "Wow  - you were right!". After that she was the perfect photographer's companion, quite happy to sit on her own for an hour absorbing the spirit of a place while I went off looking for photos.

 

Alan

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Solitary - otherwise I do not take my time and get the right image.

 

Edited by Niels Quist

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11 minutes ago, Niels Quist said:

Solitary - otherwise I do not take my time and get the right image.

 

 

I used to call it “committing to the image”: doing whatever it took to get a picture: walk further, be patient, take a tripod, etc. Now I’m older, and lazier, it’s mostly about waiting longer (or, rather, being prepared to wait longer. Instead of rushing after pictures... letting them come to me)…

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30 minutes ago, John Morrison said:

 

I used to call it “committing to the image”: doing whatever it took to get a picture: walk further, be patient, take a tripod, etc. Now I’m older, and lazier, it’s mostly about waiting longer (or, rather, being prepared to wait longer. Instead of rushing after pictures... letting them come to me)…

 

 

I like to do that sometimes. Just see what presents itself.

 

As part of my job I once used to create 'urban trails' for children - follow a route, get them to observe, use their senses, find out bits of information, sketch things, record what they liked/disliked etc - I sometimes go into that mode and see where the light falls.

 

It sounds a bit pretentious to write it down like that but just go the flow and have the camera/brain ready for what crops up. 

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I prefer solitary. Alone with ones thoughts and free to take as much time as required even if there's only a slim chance of pulling off the shot.

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It depends. I tend to prefer solitary but it is nice to spend a few days out shooting rock concerts and drinking beers with photographer friends in the summer 😎 !

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On 17/02/2020 at 17:55, Phil said:

Definitely solo most of the time.  Occasionally wife is along but she's competent with photography and so is understanding. 

 

Solo, I will never go on a shoot intentionally with other photographers. Last time I did was about 4 years ago, myself and 2 other photographers covered a big march, one could never cover everything. Then later at the stage in Parliament Square I shot mainly stills while one of the other photographers with me shot mainly video, teamwork. There are obviously a fair few photographers at the city based events I shoot. There I will nod to those I know, or have a quick chat during slack moments. If ever I'm out with my wife (who isn't a photographer) and I have a shoulder bag or rucksack with me, she will think there's some ulterior motive for me suggesting we visit where ever. If in the countryside she will knit in the car while I'm busy, or if in London visit a museum or gallery. It works for me.

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I am a solitary photographer but I miss showing the images to my deceased lady friend who liked to see them. Particularly images taken in the park or the village where we live/lived.

She would pass comments on them which helped me later during selecting and processing.

 

It is not quite the same now and I think I am losing the will to shoot more images.

 

Allan

 

Edited by Allan Bell

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On 18/02/2020 at 02:28, Inchiquin said:

 

Everybody can. It's a natural human function.

 

Alan

Nah. Bought my pizza 2 days ago, a medium. Ate 3 slices. Next day, yesterday, reheated and ate 2. I have 3 more to go. But then under the heavy cheese, are layers of pepperoni, Canadian bacon, mushrooms and black olives. Eating 3 slices, I was stuffed. But that was my only meal of the whole day. (burp)

Casey’s, best pizza I ever ate. I get one about every 6 weeks.

 

I am a solitary. When on trips with my husband, he got mad because I always took off away from him so I could get my own unique view pictures.  He thought we should be joined at the hip.  I have free hips! 😊And my legs ran fast!

Then when we got home and reviewed our images, he got mad all over again when he saw those unique images of mine. I told him he could get glad in the same pants he got mad in. I wasn’t his photographic director.

Betty

 

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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

 But then under the heavy cheese, are layers of pepperoni, Canadian bacon, mushrooms and black olives.

 

Not fair.  Now I am hungry.  Must go get some pizza 😋

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On 17/02/2020 at 14:20, John Morrison said:

Photography, for me, is an essentially solitary pursuit. I don’t want to have to persuade anyone to stay in one place for an hour, in case the light gets “interesting”. And the thought of standing gives me palpitations. How about you??

 

These days, being retired from assignment photography, I only shoot common access editorial stock for Alamy. I shoot what I want, when I want, and only upload images that I like. I do this all by myself. Working alongside other photographers is out of the question and pointless. Shooting or not, I'm comfortable in my own company. However, I like people and I'm comfortable with others too. 

 

For the first 4 years that I was a pro photographer, most of what I did was actors' portraits. I think I was better at that than any of the other types of photography I've done. Sadly, I don't do that at all anymore. 

 

I've also been a PJ, a still photog on films and TV sets, a theatre photographer, I did fashion and glamour, and I spent many years doing travel marketing assignments. Mostly I was the only guy with a camera, but not always. I worked as a camera man on two cinéma vérité documentaries. I didn't like that. Too many meeting and talks about what we should do next. 

 

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2 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

I told him he could get glad in the same pants he got mad in

 

That's a new expression to me. Only in Kansas??

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Solitary.

 

Conversing with flora and persuading them to pose au naturelle is, in view of current mental health laws, an activity best practiced alone.  😀

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