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mini me

When I was at the Magnum workshop, one of the issues that came to the forefront was my shooting style. It became clearer that I was editing before shooting. By this I mean that I was deciding if something would make a perfect image before I would photograph it and it was paralyzing me. When the time came to selecting images to show each day, I would have just a handful from which to choose. By the last day, I am sure Larry Towell was quite exasperated with me. I have discussed this issue before with Ray and we came to the conclusion that the problem is that I am listening to too many voices in my head and they are preventing me from just being spontaneous.

Upon my return from Magnum, Ray gave me a whole new assignment. I had to make 15 images a day every day–with my iPhone. Now I know that people have different reasons for shooting with an iPhone, “the best camera is the one you have with you” being one of the most popular. I have to say though I haven’t heard of too many people using the iPhone with the goal of being “unedited“–at least that is how I am looking at this new assignment. I must admit that I have not kept up with the assignment in terms of 15 images every day but I have been shooting more and guess what? I think it’s working.

Today I want to introduce you to a new mini-blog I started a couple of weeks ago. You can find the mini-chronicles here and there is also a hard link in the list below. For now it will be exclusively for my iPhone images and will be very light on words. I will also post more frequently to that blog than I do over here. The image I posted yesterday on this blog was shot with my iPhone and processed in Lightroom. Today’s image was also taken with my iPhone but it was processed using Camera+ followed by some slight adjustments in Lightroom. Each of the images on the mini-blog are the closest you will see of me being spontaneous and photographing intuitively. With the iPhone I don’t have time to listen to those voices in my head and I just need to frame and press the shutter. I know this seems contradictory to what many people suggest i.e. slowing down, but frankly I’ve never had a problem doing that with my DSLR.

I do feel a growing confidence in my ability to make more good photographs that reflect my intention and my voice. The challenge will be to transfer what is happening with my iPhone to how I photograph overall.

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24 Comments

  1. Ed
    July 27, 2011

    Excellent. Great to hear it is working. Visual exercises are a must. I had a similar problem that was uncovered in Buenos Aires. I wasn’t working on any given situation enough – something David has recently been addressing – by exploring actions and viewpoints. I think I was too conscious of the potential for other things going on or, similarly to you, of slowing down and analyzing the image beforehand. I also think I was trying to anticipate the moment rather than let it happen. Sometimes you just need to keep working, enjoy what you are photographing and yes, be spontaneous. It is so much clearer to me that good photography comes with hard work in this respect, as well as others.

    As an aside, any particular reason for Posterous over Tumblr?

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      July 27, 2011

      Isn’t that interesting Ed that we had a similar problem? Hard work can be a lot of fun as I’ve learned and there is something quite freeing about photographing with an iPhone. It makes me wonder how I would have fared at the Magnum workshop with just a camera phone.

      The main reason why I went with Posterous over Tumblr was that my name was not available. If it had been, I would have created the mini-blog with Tumblr.

  2. Chris Ward
    July 27, 2011

    I like the idea of collecting the images in one place from your mobile creations. I feel scattered and often don’t post these types of shots. How are you getting them to the mini blog?

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      July 27, 2011

      I know what you mean, Chris. I was just tweeting them and you know those disappear within a few minutes. With this mini-blog, I have entered the posts through the web and via email. Both work well. I believe there is also a way to do this directly from your phone with an app, I just haven’t looked into doing that yet.

      If you do decide to create a mini-blog for your mobile creations, please let me know. Thanks!

    • Sabrina
      July 27, 2011

      Chris, I just downloaded the Posterous app for my iPhone and can now post from there too. I’ve also set it up to do an autopost to Twitter. 🙂

    • Chris Ward
      July 29, 2011

      My own mobile blog is now up. http://www.cyberward.net/blog/2011/07/new-mobile-photo-blog/

    • Sabrina
      July 29, 2011

      Woo hoo, Chris! Great to see you posting your mobile images 🙂

  3. Iza
    July 27, 2011

    I love your idea of Posterous mini-blog. Also I think your 15 images a day is a bit extreme version of 365 project. I heard it helps grow photographically, so it seems there is a reward in torturing yourself like that :).

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      July 27, 2011

      LOL Iza, you just made my day! Let’s just say that if I do have 15 images in one day, it’s like keeping extra inventory for the days that I don’t have any. I do wonder for those people who do a 365 day project, how many they actually shoot in a day. They might share one a day but do they make more than one photograph?

  4. Chris Ward
    July 27, 2011

    The most impressive commitment I saw was doing a 365, and planning, and lighting a new shot every day. Dustin Diaz http://www.flickr.com/photos/polvero/sets/72157611811908959/

    Reply
    • Flemming Bo Jensen
      July 27, 2011

      That’s impressive. I am also impressed by Preston Kanak: http://www.prestonkanak.com/ he is filming, editing and producing a 3 minute short every single day to better his skills: http://3minuteshorts.ca/

    • Sabrina
      July 28, 2011

      That is an impressive collection of images and even more say considering they were part of a 365 project. Thanks for sharing, Chris.

  5. Flemming Bo Jensen
    July 27, 2011

    Thanks for this Sabrina, it’s inspiring me as well to look into a posterous or tumblr blog for the daily shots, so they have a nice place to exist.

    I completely understand what you mean re. composing in your head, I am guilty of that as well, I take the image in my head and think “no that’ll never work” and I do not take the actual shot. I am now trying to follow Charlene’s WWTD – shoot the sh*t out of it 🙂

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      July 28, 2011

      For me, it has made a difference having a place to post the images instead of them just accumulating on my phone. I think it’s the same as making a book with your images. You need to have something concrete and not just things that exist digitally.

      I know that I also need to work my subject more but the iPhone project is not about working the subject. It is more about being spontaneous and having a record of what I thought when I first saw something. Typically I don’t have more than one or two frames of the same subject when I am using my iPhone. It is exactly like you say about making the image in your head and thinking it won’t work. The iPhone images are small proof that yes they will.

    • Flemming Bo Jensen
      July 30, 2011

      Very inspired by you and your project Sabrina, I started a Tumblr: http://flemmingbojensen.tumblr.com/

      Great idea to actually have a place, a mini-blog for these images and not just let them go to twitter and die in a few seconds.

  6. Charlene
    July 28, 2011

    Hey, your posterous thingo is awesome!

    15 shots a day… good grief. Hats off to you m’dear!

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      July 28, 2011

      LOL…well 15 is the goal. Not sure it is a SMART goal as they say but it has definitely helped.

  7. Iza
    July 28, 2011

    Sabrina, I think people who work on 365 project a day will often shoot more then one image. But I think there is a difference between, in a sense, having to make several frames on one concept, and having to shoot 15 different ones. I guess having to is not the best description, after all we do it because we want to, but there is some kind of pressure involved, I think. I wonder if this pressure helps or limits creativity in some people.

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      July 28, 2011

      I agree Iza. 15 different images are much are more challenging to make. In this case, it is a bit of a “have to” in terms of image-making but the “want to” part is breaking through a barrier for me. I like to think of it as pressure that is going to release creativity that is already there. Does that make sense?

  8. Jeff
    July 28, 2011

    It’s funny, because for me, I sort of fool myself into thinking that it is not a ‘serious’ photograph when I am using my iPhone to take it, thereby relieving myself of any ‘serious’ photographer duties. This all leads to fun, creativity, and some good photos.

    Nice work, Sabrina!

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      July 28, 2011

      I know exactly what you mean Jeff. It is kinda like the way in which we make the image isn’t serious but the result tells us that doesn’t matter. Anything that relieves us from our hangups and gets us to create is good, at least that is the way I am looking at it. Although I have been seeing a few of your images on Twitter, I would love to see more of them. 🙂

  9. Domestic Executive
    July 28, 2011

    A new adventure – brilliant. I’ve only recently got and iPhone but finding it’s helping me start looking again at the world without the worry of my camera. I’ve been posted a few via twitter and set up a tumblr account to link to my main blog but still a lot of mucking around to get it working. Am going to look forward to being able to look at your photographs and see what’s catching your unedited eye.

    Reply
    • Sabrina
      August 1, 2011

      Julie, I popped over to your blog and I can’t seem to find the link to your tumblr account. When you have a chance, let me know the URL so I can include a link to it on my mini-me blog. Thanks!

  10. Cyberward.net » Blog Archive » New Mobile Photo Blog
    July 29, 2011

    […] two of the reasoning is the inspiration from Sabrina Henry and her new mini-me photo blog. I am going to make another renewed effort to look for and take […]

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