Taste, sensitivity, experience – are required, but can not be taught, thus I grant they exist and go on to elements we can discuss here.

As a musician knows an instrument a photographer is supposed to know the camera. Different configurations are required in different conditions (how far the object is, weather conditions, etc) and everything must be adjusted to serve the object or theme of a photo. Therefore, a photographer needs also to have understood pretty well what precisely the object of a particular photo is and make all the necessary adjustments in order for this specific object to emerge alive and powerful in the photo.

Of course, there exist cases when there is no time for that, e.g., when you take a photo of a flying bird or of anything that passes and does not allow much time for configuration. In such cases the camera should be configured according to the general landscape conditions inside which the object might suddenly appear. In all other cases a photographer is able to think, make the necessary micro-adjustments, even experiment with different adjustments (which is easy now with digital photography).

The Andy Warhol school (grab a camera, get outside and start shooting) did not produce very great movies, as we know. We need to pause, think, wait for the right time, search for the right angle, be prepared to recognise the sudden appearance of our object, etc. This way photography is revealed almost as a spiritual exercise, teaching patience.

To wait is one of the most important virtues of a photographer. Wait until you have understood your object, wait until you realise how you can serve you object, wait until your real object appears… – wait and think, think and wait, make even more adjustments (if you have time), then shoot – this would be a ‘method’ that helps, provided a person meets also the requirements of love, taste, etc.

I was thinking this problem not because I’m an expert in photography (on the contrary), but looking at Manos’ photos, published in the Greek portfolio. The object of these photos are the people of Greece, especially of the Greek islands, in the middle of the previous century. Manos knows how to wait for the right moment and prepare for the right depiction of his object. Watch the picture of the grandmother and granddaughter and imagine in how many ways it could have been taken – e.g. with both persons looking at the photographer, or with the grandma looking at the photographer and the girl looking at the grandma, etc.

Manos chose a way that shows two worlds side by side yet very different, while the photographer disappears from the scene (no one looks at him). The way he chose resulted to a unique depiction, to an importance one seldom encounters – and this is a necessary quality for a good photo, to be unique, to give the immediate impression that no one ever has taken or will take this particular photo, even if the object stays unchanged forever.

Home of Ellopos Blog