1. Has achieved an easy familiarity with their equipment and the light sensitive materials they utilize. In other words, the photographer has gotten enough technique under their belt to operate.
- Does not get hung up on technique.
- Simplifies: carries no more than is necessary (not ‘dripping with equipment’).
- Knows the limits of their equipment (and themselves).
- Uses the best gear they can afford.
2. Has developed a flexibility of approach to (or treatment of) their subject.
- Prepared: never travels without camera. Dresses for the occasion – ready to lie down in mud if necessary.
- Ability to improvise.
- Patience when required.
3. Should believe that whatever they see, they can photograph.
4. Instinctively frames for the strongest possible view; a compositional sense of rightness (balance).
- “Composition is the strongest way of seeing.” – Edward Weston
- Power of Selectivity.
- Includes all that is essential.
- Excludes all that is non-essential.
5. Has an awareness of light.
6. Realizes that film is cheap.
- Better to overshoot and edit later.
- Bracket exposure when in doubt.
7. Approaches their subject with respect.
8. Is their own severest critic.
- Ruthless in editing; end result that is much stronger.
- Aware of when repeating self or copying others.
- Concern for their work to be of highest possible quality.
- Remembers that “Artsy” rhymes with “Fartsy.”
9. Takes care not to abuse the power of photography.
- More than the power to record, it can interpret, convey a message, evoke emotion, inspire, depress, etc.
- Understands that photographs can lie like hell.
- In portraiture: the power of choosing the right (or wrong) instant (or angle, or lighting) etc.
- Flatness of camera (monocular) vision vs. human (bi-ocular), three dimensional vision.
- Time exposure: film records passages of light over time. Biological vision systems do not.
10. Is gracious enough to accept and acknowledge successful mistakes.
11. Understands the difference between “looking” and “seeing.”
- “Many look, but few see.”
- In seeing, one perceives (visually comprehends).
12. Strives for Perfection, but hopes never to achieve it
- The dullness (non-controversial) nature of perfection.
- “You’re only as good as your last photograph.”
13. Has enough self-understanding to know what they’re trying to do with their photography.
- Understands the connection between their photographs and themselves.
- Realizes the danger of too close an association with any one: school, system, or guru.
- Knows that at some point, they must go their own way.
14. Has at least some passing familiarity with the history and big names in photography.
- Enrichment of one’s own experience by discovering the work and writings of past kindred spirits.
- No need to replicate unknowingly what’s been done before their time.
15. Should be reconciled to spending a lifetime in the determination of what makes a picture.
- No formula solves the problem.
- Same question as “What is Art”?
- Pattern picture, for example, must be more than a pattern to be good.
16. Is sufficiently free from dogma to disregard any (or all) of the above which does not apply to their own special situation