When I first picked up my parents’ old SLR camera in the mid-90s, I visualised myself taking awesome black and white portraits of people. I’d develop and print them myself in my darkroom, and I’d exhibit them in galleries around Finland, and then abroad. Maybe I’d specialise in taking high-contrast, low-key portraits of musicians and bands for different magazines.
As you can easily tell from the photos on this site, that is not quite what I’ve been doing for the past 20+ years! Yes, I’ve developed and printed my black and white photos myself, and even though I’ve been mostly shooting digital for the past 10 years, I still occasionally shoot film, set up my darkroom, develop the films and print photos using the old enlarger my uncle gave me years ago.
Focus on the details
But as you can see, I’ve mostly been photographing everything else but people. I love macro photography, and you’ll often find me exploring the tiniest details in not only flowers and other “traditional” macro subjects but also in food, its ingredients, and everyday household items. Even when I take photos of beautiful landscapes, the trigger to take a picture tends to be a detail in the scene, and I often focus on the details first before moving to wider compositions.
For a while now, though, I’ve felt a bit stuck with my photography. My favourite photos at the moment are quite often those that I’ve taken 3 to 5 years ago. I also often find myself looking for the same themes and compositions – sort of trying to imitate myself from a few years ago.
I love taking photos but somehow I haven’t been getting the results I want, so I figured I needed a change; some new inspiration for my work.
Back to where it all began
They say that in order to improve, you need to step out of your comfort zone. And that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do this autumn! I don’t enjoy being photographed, and I feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. As a result, I tend to think that everyone else feels the same, so I don’t feel too comfortable pointing my camera at anyone, either. So I decided to sign up for a people photography course – the first photo course I’ve ever taken!
After the first lesson last week, I don’t expect to turn into a people photographer, even if it’s what I first dreamt of when I started exploring photography. However, I do expect to find a new spark to my hobby, one way or another. Maybe I will learn to take pictures of my family and friends without feeling that I’m interfering or intruding into their private space. Maybe I’ll even learn to take pictures of people that I don’t know so well. What I am sure of is that I’ll learn new techniques that I can apply to my photography, be it people photography or anything else.
Our first lesson was about street photography, and the homework assignment was to take three pictures in the street: one where a person is a part of the composition, one where a person is the main subject, and as a bonus, one for which you ask a stranger for permission first.
Maybe I’ll upload some of the results on this site or on Instagram later… Stay tuned!