it has been a while since I wrote part one, with my first five rules.
in all truth I spent a long time thinking how to complete the work, but I could only think of mere rules, certainly true but also boring and banal: like learn how to count, or something like that…
no, it wasn’t enough. and last night, while I was watching a wonderful concert, I came up with another five. I hope I remember them: last night I had them very clear!
two premises before we start:
A) the first one I am copy/pasting same as the previous time: not for false modesty, it is not implied that I have ever or that I do stick to all the points that I’m going to list. if I would have maybe I’d be a better photographer than I am now. but I am a professional photographer, and I live solely for this job: a necessary and sufficient quality to know how things should work…
B) this time it would be wrong to call them rules. they do not regulate anything. I’d prefer to define them as symptoms, clues… litmus tests that can help figure out who has a particular approach to photography and who hasn’t.
ok, enough talking, here is the list:
– A UNIFORM. get yourself a uniform. all professions have a uniform, right? So why a photographer shouldn’t not have one?!? make one! I am not saying to dress well or trendy, I am suggesting you build a certain attitude through what you wear. you wouldn’t like it if your dentist welcomed you in jeans, am I right? not only for reasons of hygiene, am I right? that is why I think a photographer should have his own uniform. and try to think what you are going to wear for a particular shooting, in relation to what you are about to tell: you will see the quality of the photographs will improve dramatically, and certainly much more compared to choosing an aperture from another.
you do not have a uniform?: it is possible that your photographs are shit.
– A NICE HOUSE. it is a matter of love for aesthetics, it is a matter of being able to choose, it is a matter of having a style… all the great photographers that I know are in beautiful homes. not rich! not designed by a cool architect! not designer! simple houses that tell who you are, and can tell that you like what is slightly far from the banality and conformity: if this happens in the environment that you frequent often it will inevitably happen in the environment that you frequent for 1/125 of a second.
nobody has ever told you “wow what a cool house” as they walked in? it is possible that your photographs are shit.
– COURAGE. be brave. for example, it is necessary when taking photographs that you do things that… not feel embarrassed… but you feel embarrassed when thinking about it afterwards. you have walk the path, skimming the precipice. where the path has been laid and walked you will arrive where it is already full of people, and there nobody will notice you. Remember the poem dedicated to the profession of photographer by edgar lee master in his spoon river:
I lost my customers in spoon river
because I tried to infuse my intelligence to the photographic camera
to capture the soul of the subject.
the best photograph I’ve ever done
was that of judge somers, lawyer.
he sat down erect and made me wait
until he had straightened the squinter eye.
then when he was ready he said “go ahead”.
and I yelled “objection rejected”, and the eye turned up.
and so I caught the expression he had
when he said “I object”.
you have never been afraid when taking a photograph?: it is possible that your photographs are shit.
- INTEREST TOWARDS THE WORLD: photographers photograph what is outside the self. they photograph the world that is out there. of course dutifully filtered from their own vision. but the raw material is out there. repeating the terrifying little words “me, me, me, me, me, me ……..” you do not get anywhere. the sun is the center, not the earth. you must be copernicans. you need to open to the world, and the most effective way is by reading books, watching movies, listening to music, attending situations / festivals / exhibitions where you can increase the amount of lives lived: one is really too little. Because you run the risk of talking only and solely about yourself, and you want to know something? your life (no, not the one you are reading, no!, the one of all the others!) is a very small and little thing.
have you never read, and loved, for example, italo calvino?: it is likely that your photographs are shit.
– HATS AND/OR HAIR: take care of your hair: that does not mean to have the haircut from the coolest hair stylist, no! otherwise buy yourself a nice hat. seems like a pointless rule!? It is likely, but know that:
you don’t take care of your hair and you do not have a nice hat?: it is likely that your photographs are shit.
and finally the last and final rule
– DISCARD ALL THE RULES: rules here, rules there… but who are you? what you are is the filter of the world? is that point of view your point of view?
you haven;t broken any rules?: it is likely that your photographs are shit.
and I conclude with a shot I took last night at the concert of vinicio capossela at the tunnel in milan: he had a beautiful red hat and stunning gold shoes…