Friday, February 10, 2012

Shooting local

I am sure I am not alone in often finding it difficult to find photographic inspiration where I live.  I have taken to heart the advice given by a good photographer friend many years ago, I almost always have a camera on me.  You can't take a picture if you don't have a camera.  So even if I am just going for a stroll in the neighborhood you will often see me with some sort of messenger bag and there is likely a camera or two tucked away inside.  I don't really have any specific images I am out to grab, but want to be ready if I see something.  And 9 times out of 10 I return home with out a single image snapped. 

The opposite is true if I am traveling and walking around a new place.  The cameras are out and my problem is putting them away.  This becomes a bit of a problem when traveling with someone else as I am always torn between wanting to grab the shot and not ignoring or making my traveling companion feel uncomfortable.  So why is it that I can't find the same inspiration where I live?

Part of the problem is where I live.  I live in Old Town Alexandria which is a very nice, touristy little part of Alexandria.  The streets are lined with crafty stores in 100 year old buildings.  The people who line the streets are mostly camera wielding tourists and Old ladies out to but the latest crafty decoration for their house.  In other words not what I like to shoot.  There is also the fact that because I live here I often feel like I can always come back another day when the light is better and grab the shot.

The usual challenge given to intro to photography students is to go out to where you live and try and find new ways of seeing the familiar.  It's a great exercise, but having lived here for almost 10 years now I think I have done all I can do.  But I still take my cameras with me and every once in a while I do snap a pic or two.

"Fishing on the Potomac"
Holga, Ilford HP5

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