I actually wanted to call this blog entry "Why I now hate DPC", which is completely tongue-in-cheek, but I feared it may create the wrong impression.


Anyway, now that I have your attention;


Since attending the basic DPC course last year, it has almost been an obsession for me to post my two weekly shots for critique. I needed to get my fix.


In the beginning, it was all about experimenting and fiddling and ..... well ..... fun. And besides, all the cool kids were doing it.


As the year progressed, I now realise that I have fallen into the trap of purely posting for the sake of posting. I would go out and have fun on a "shoot", take what I thought were the better shots, tweak them and post them here to see what the response would be.


Shock.... horror.... it was becoming a routine.


Now don't get me wrong, I can see that through the volume of shooting, my work has improved since those early days, but since attending the advanced course these past few weeks, I have come to realise that I have been shooting for all the wrong reasons and most importantly WITHOUT INTENT!


What the course has highlighted, for me anyway, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with casual photography. Shooting for fun, editing for fun and sharing your work. In fact I encourage everyone to keep the fun element as alive as possible, but my horrific realisation while sitting listening to the lecture was that I was not spending enough time thinking about the WHY I was taking a particular shot.


Those 3 little letters W-H-Y just about knocked me for a six and has made me re-evaluate what it actually is that I am doing with my camera. Naturally, this made me depressed as photography suddenly went from being fun to frustrating in no time at all. (Thanks ALOT DPC.) 


When you start thinking about WHY you are taking a picture, it completely over shadows the what, how, who and where in an instant. The other questions, to a degree, all have tangible answers to them but the WHY leaves me floundering and is now forcing me to really think a lot harder about what it is I am trying to accomplish as a photographer and what it is that I what to communicate in my pictures.


This is actually a difficult place to be in, but fear not. As it turns out, John and Danie have assured us that this is a journey all photographers, in fact all artists, have to endure at some point and once you figure out your own individual answer to your particular WHY, it opens up a whole new world for you. You have progressed to the next level. You are shooting with a purpose and intent.


What does this mean for me? Well, in order to break bad habits, I have decided to only upload to PhotoCritic, photos which I feel I can honestly give an answer to the question WHY. Sounds simple enough....not.


But more importantly, I am making a concerted effort to give much more thought and analysis into a photo before I even pick up the camera and ensuring that I honestly understand why I am taking that shot in the first place. Sure, it means I am actually going to physically take fewer photos, but hopefully the ones I do take will be better for it.


In closing, I would like to encourage all of you out there to attend an advanced course at some point and to start using the tools you will learn there to start putting some more WHY into your shots along with the WHO, WHAT, WHERE and HOW.


Happy shooting. :)


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Comment by LEON PELSER on December 30, 2014 at 10:23

Baie waar woorde Kevin...ek doen nou 15 jr fotografie en geniet elke foto wat ek neem of beplan nog net so, soos in daardie eerste jaar nadat Getaway my eerste foto (n skyfie) geplaas het!! Vir ons, nie profesionele fotograwe, bly dit steeds een v/d beste 'hobbies' wat n ou kan he ..."rather click and fail, than fail to click"

Comment by Nadia de Lange on November 28, 2014 at 8:42

I have been feeling slightly depressed lately for exactly that reason. I haven't been doing this for very long, in fact I only started thinking about photography at the end of 2012. Before that I owned a "mik en druk", and took snapshots every now and then maybe. But when I picked up my first DSLR, I was hooked. And the first time I attached a 70-200mm to it and aimed it at an impala, well, that was an answer to a yearning to do something I love. For a year I practiced, took photos, played with settings, read SO MUCH literature about techniques and equipment and so forth, and the more I looked at the great wildlife photographers' work, the more I yearned to do that. My "why" was clear - to tell a story about the animals of Africa, their plight, and share their beauty.

And then I moved to Switzerland. And here I sit, with my "why" pretty clear, and my "how" completely messed up. Because a quick trip to a nature reserve to get some nice shots of animals is not an option anymore. So now I have to re-evaluate my "why" completely. Which is depressing. So I feel your pain, when you figure it out let us know :)

Comment by Bruna Mentrup-Nortje on November 21, 2014 at 22:39
Thank you for sharing Kevin!
Comment by Lee Lahner on November 21, 2014 at 11:50

Your message makes a ton of sense Kevin and thanks for sharing :-)

Comment by Lilian Ackhurst on November 21, 2014 at 10:36

Enjoyed the blog and actually made a lot of sense. Also forcing me to make my mind up and do the course, as it is clearly beneficial to one's progress.


Comment by Danie Bester on November 21, 2014 at 10:28

A great share. Thanks for the kind words Kevin and kudos to John Onderstall aka "The Fox" in getting the message across!




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