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Photography: Theory & Practice for Progress

From Film to Digital: A Photographic Journey to Learn Rigor Before Creativity

Today, photography has become an art accessible to everyone. Thanks to smartphones and digital cameras, it is possible to capture quality images in a click. However, it should not be forgotten that behind the apparent simplicity of photography lies a know-how and a technique that is important to master.

I still remember the heady smell of developer and fixer in the black and white lab, the dim red light that guided my precise and methodical gestures. At that time, photography demanded unfailing rigor and discipline. Each film was precious, each shot a challenge to overcome. Indeed, my photographic journey began in the era of film photography. This rigorous technique, which left no room for error, instilled in me a discipline and an understanding of light and composition that are still invaluable to me today.

Learning the Theoretical Basics

In my early days, I learned photography on a Sinar P camera. This type of equipment, now almost obsolete, demanded extreme precision and perfect mastery of the camera’s settings. I took many architectural, industrial and advertising photographs. I still remember spending whole days working on a single image, refining the composition, light and settings to achieve the perfect result.

At that time, there was no question of wasting film! Each shot had to be carefully thought out, composed and exposed. This is how I learned rigor, patience and the importance of mastering the basics of photography: light, film sensitivity, shutter speed, aperture and depth of field… Essential notions that still form the cornerstone of any accomplished photographer today.

This experience allowed me to understand the fundamental importance of theory in photography.

Adapting and Innovating

Throughout my career, I have been confronted with numerous situations that have forced me to be resourceful and adaptable. A good photographer must be able to adapt to any situation and meet all the demands of his clients.

I remember a photo shoot for a jewelry brand; the client wanted reflections on his pieces in places that the light from my torches could not reach. Not having the right equipment on hand, I broke a mirror in the courtyard behind the studio and arranged the pieces using Patafix to create a kaleidoscope effect. The result was spectacular and the client was delighted!

This kind of anecdote illustrates well the ability of a photographer to adapt and find creative solutions to technical constraints. A good photographer is not just a technician, he is also an image MacGyver, capable of finding ingenious solutions to overcome obstacles and achieve the perfect shot, no matter the circumstances.

The Freedom of Creativity

Technique is the language of photography. Learning to compose, expose, manage light and depth of field is like learning to speak a new language. And as with any language, constant and regular practice is essential. It is this that will allow this capacity for adaptation, to find solutions in the face of the unexpected and to make the most of the available resources.

However, it should not be forgotten that technique, while essential, is only a tool at the service of creativity. It is once the basics have been mastered that the door opens to experimentation. We can then dare to break the rules, play with conventions and explore new avenues to express our creativity. This is how we sharpen our eye, that we acquire that je-ne-sais-quoi that makes a banal photo a work of art.

It is when you have this ability to capture the extraordinary in the ordinary, to tell a story in a single shot, to convey an emotion that resonates, that you will obtain the freedom of creativity and that you will progress.

Learn from your mistakes

A keen artistic eye is necessary, but it is not enough. To improve, you also need to know how to analyze your photos, to dissect each element, each detail. Why does this photo work? What could have been improved? By understanding our mistakes, we learn, we evolve. We refine our eye, sharpen our technique. And above all, we avoid making the same mistakes again.

Theory, then practice and experimentation: become an accomplished photographer

To conclude: if you are new to photography, I encourage you not to neglect learning the basics. Take the time to understand light, composition and the settings of your camera. It is only once you have mastered these fundamentals that you will be able to give free rein to your creativity and develop your own style.

Remember that photography is above all a passion. Have fun, experiment and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is by learning from your mistakes and practicing that you will progress and become an accomplished photographer. You will then be able to fully enjoy the creative freedom that digital cameras allow today. It is this creative freedom that makes photography so exciting for me. Each new image is an opportunity to discover an infinite number of possibilities and to push the limits of my work.

So, don’t wait any longer, grab your camera and embark on your photographic adventure! The world is waiting to be captured through your unique perspective.

You don’t take a photograph, you create it

Ansel Adams