I strongly believe that to stay fresh as a photographer it is important to continuously learn and more importantly to challenge yourself. It is far too easy to get into your comfort zone and slide into doing the same things that you did the month before and never really progressing. It is from this belief that the 12-Portrait Challenge was born. I am challenging myself to create 12 series of images from 12 different portrait challenges and the subject matter is down to chance.
To start things off I posted on my Facebook page:
In the first hour I had two, very different responses both of which will challenge me both in terms of the subject matter and the techniques needed. No big clues yet but one is definitely an outdoor pursuit whilst the other isn’t traditionally seen that way – but with a bit of creative thinking I’m working on some ideas to take it outdoors.
A date is already in the diary for one of these and I have two weeks to scout locations and work out my initial shot list – oh and identify any gaps in my skills! From a quick call today it is clear that there will be plenty of creative input from the subject too and I for one am very excited about the shoot. Fingers crossed the weather holds, watch this space!
The Royal Photographic Society Distinctions are recognised as the most prestigious in the photographic world and it has been an ambition of mine to achieve recognition through the society’s distinctions scheme. So, I am delighted to announce that just this week the RPS conferred their Licentiateship and that from the next reprint my business cards will read Dave Whenham LRPS.
For me the LRPS is not only recognition that I can produce images of a high standard but confirmation of the professional approach I take to my photography regardless of the final audience.
Landscape photography is a source of great enjoyment for me. It is my escape from the daily grind, my opportunity to hone my skills away from the frenetic activity of photographing young children about their daily business. It is my photographic passion in many ways. So I am therefore delighted to be able to offer some of my best landscapes online via Fine Art America.
Over the last few weeks I have seen many posts and news items concerning the fate of today’s photography. It seems that we are taking more photographs than ever before yet as most of these are snapped on smart phones and uploaded to social media sites we have the paradox that this could well be the least documented period of time a hundred years down the road. You see, all those digits, those ones and zeroes, will become lost in the ether. Stored on technology that the average man in the street can no longer access or simply lost when the user got bored and closed their social media account. When one of the big-wigs at Google is a leading voice on the subject you know there is a problem brewing. Put simply, the problem is that we are simply not printing enough.
Or, the majority are not printing at all.
So in the future the box of family snaps and, in my case, old slides, tucked away at the back of the cupboard is an endangered species. I have a large suitcase, yes, a large suitcase, overflowing with pictures taken by myself and my father over the years. These go back to the 1950s and when my own children were younger they loved rifling through the case looking for pictures of Dad in his shorts pulling a wooden cart around the garden, aged two. The early colour snap of me in “that red jumper again Dad” caused much mirth. The girls simply couldn’t envisage that in 1959 I only owned one, perhaps two, jumpers. Many are small 2.5″ x 2.5″ contact prints, most are black and white and many are slightly dog-eared, but they will remain viewable long after my latest modern digital storage device has found its place in landfill heaven.
I see this a lot with portrait work where increasingly I am asked for digital files and the “Facebook-ready” set is shared with obvious pride and pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the technology is fabulous and I enjoy seeing people enjoy my work and the pleasure they get from sharing it. I just worry that we are not doing enough to preserve these precious memories for future generations. But there is no getting away from the fact that print and canvas sales are on the wane. As a professional I prefer to take control of the printing process myself. Whether I print them myself or outsource the job I can ensure the highest quality particularly when it comes to producing faithful colours and a print that will last a lifetime.
I am looking at the packages I offer at the moment and am tempted to provide an option to have the set delivered as a packet of 9″x6″ prints. To make it a cost-effective option I would need to outsource the printing but I would at least be making my own small contribution to the large suitcases of the future.