Are you feeling lucky? |Week 7: Strategic Choices| Positions and Practice

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[Disclaimer – Unfortunately, due to major time restraints and difficult living circumstances, I will be taking notes in my physical journal, but my thought sharing posts for the remaining weeks of module ones lessons will be shorter than my previous blog posts, they will be back to normal for the second module, apologies]

Chance and Serendipity

Do I see chance as a key part of photography?

Yes and no. Yes because it is a factor of being in the right place at the right time. No because it does take the photographer some effort to have a camera on them day to day, everywhere, at all times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed photo opportunities due to the fact I didn’t want to carry my camera around on a busy day. I’ve learnt my lesson therefor I now make a conscious effort to bring the camera with me everywhere I go when I am not set out for a planned shoot. Better to be equipped for the moment rather than sorry you missed it. One could argue that a photographers training, knowledge, patience and eye for taking photos could override the term ‘chance’. Whilst another could argue that a person who has never picked up an dslr camera before in their life could capture a golden moment on their phone camera because they where just, there. Would that still be chance? or skill? I think its a battle between both the terms. If you to call the average phone camera user “lucky”, my guess is they proberly wouldn’t be care, a photographer on the other hand, properly wouldn’t take that type of remark too kindly, some might find it offensive.

To what extent does it play a role in my own practice?

Its a mixture, 9 times out of 10 I will head out with several locations in mind and a strong pre visualisation of what I want to take. Pre visualising is a technique I use constantly. Before reaching the destination I focus on what I want and then once reaching the destination and I am immersed in shooting, I think more about how it will look after editing. However, yes chance does play a role in the sense that, like Robert MacFarlanes psychogeographys brief exercise, you are waiting, observing, scouting for a moment to capture. In this case, I would say the observing and photo taking part is skill, the rest is down to the “chance” of a unique moment in time happening, one example in my case, i’d set out to take photos of people in a crowded area – the area may go quiet and one silhouette would stand out in the open space.

How might I develop my work by embracing change or making new opportunities?

A lot of this information is explained in my project proposal. I wish to use new camera technology and equipment to experiment and explore new methods of taking photographs, I also will be trying out new editing styles and requesting feedback to see how other peoples emotions are effected by the changes.

Creative Restraint

What arbitrary parameters might I impose upon myself to expand the creative possibilities of my own work?

Alongside the new equipment/software I will be purchasing and experimenting with, I wish to travel as much as I can to keep my opportunity for photo taking wide and diverse. whilst doing this, I want to improve my abilities, awareness and readiness to seek out ambitions compositions by having my camera on me at all times whatever the weather.

Strategic Choices

How does my technical and practical choices influence and shape the work that I make?

As previously stated, I do a lot of pre visualisation, and I mean a lot. Before and during. But this is mainly for portraiture work, if I will be headed to a town or a landscape for a spontaneous shoot then Serendipity will more so be a factor regarding the beings (e.g people, animals, insects), technology (e.g cars, planes, boats) and environment/weather (e.g rain, lighting, sun, wind). Chance or no chance, I will edit the image to give it my own spin rather than leaving the photos worth entirely to chance.

Forum (Faux Pas Image)


A unedited photo I recently took in Thailand. Whilst recording a video for my Youtube, I have to admit that I didn’t know I was able to take a photo whilst in live view mode. In a dark environment, I was trying to focus on my partner, pushed a little hard on my sensor button, the flash popped up and bam. I like it, its mysterious, out of focus and you can just about make out the mellow sky in the background. I think its also a nice touch how her mask is just about visible, adding more mystery to the viewers thoughts of who this girl is and what is the motive behind the shot.


What has challenged me?

To really think about the balance of chance and skill in photography and what effect the term ‘chance’ can have upon photographers and ‘non photographers’.

What has surprised me?

How much I personally don’t like the term ‘chance’ in photography.

What do I feel I have learned?

That there is a thin line between chance and skill, the importance of keeping a camera on you at all times (proof through Cartier Bressons work) and that the great Ansel Adams also shared a ‘Pre visualisation’ technique, however his image making process would had been exceptionally more complicated that of a digital procedure.





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