Photography: seeing the world your way

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Photography is one of the most popular pastimes in Ireland, boasting dedicated enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. The reasons for this are many, but the easy accessibility offered by digital devices is surely a central driving force in making photography such a democratic art form.

While the categories of photography – portrait, wildlife, fashion, and so on – may seem relatively well-defined, they encompass a huge scope for individual expression and image originality. No photographer should settle for the conventional; each photographer should strive to develop his or her own unique style. Whether your subject matter is some autumnal woodland setting or a wedding after party, a photo is a record of an utterly unique moment. It is the photographer’s job to try convey a sense of this originality, and this is largely achieved through them developing their own distinct approach to their work.

It is not always easy to establish a stylistic personality, however. Far too many photographers end up limiting the quality of their output through an unwillingness to try something new, or by poor technique.

Camera clubs and photography courses have grown in popularity over the last number of years, a trend that looks set to continue unabated. With more people owning photographic devices than ever before (whether high-end cameras or camera-equipped mobile phones) guidance and practise is what separates the novice hobbyist from the more accomplished practitioner. By learning about the nuances of composition, technique or perspective from course guides or peers, amateur photographers can begin to put their own signature on the events and places they capture.

While many photos end up being shared among friends or fellow photographers on Flicker or Facebook, there are numerous other avenues for having work seen – one of which was highlighted in a recent article on the Guardian online on the growing public interest in limited-edition books by self-published photographers. For the photographers interviewed in the piece, the challenge is to be original. So too is the reward.

Frank Bolger

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