I find it funny that I studied photography myself at college, for a while. I had a very basic camera, nothing flashy, the sort that old photographers would say ‘Yes good basic camera that, you can’t go wrong.’
I was arty, I could spot an interesting location and frame things well so I’d go ahead and click. Then came the cool darkroom stuff. I loved that step-by-step process, all the dipping and swishing made me feel very clever. Right up until the moment my blurry images developed. I had no clue about f-stops, exposure, what speed of film was right. I think they tried to teach me but my excitable brain got in the way.
I’d pretend it was artistic expression or something. I’d trust in a smart answer to befuddle the critic but I never got to grips with the technicals. You’d think now there are such amazing digital cameras that I’d be skipping about taking professional-looking shots at last but it seems there’s still a bit more to it. (Dammit – maybe the kids at college getting the good shots wasn’t down to them having a posher camera than me.)
Great photography isn’t simply point and click – it just appears that way. People like James make it look that way because it’s natural to him. He speaks the language, I just wave my arms about.
At some point we all have to admit our truth and I’m rubbish at taking photographs, fool-proof camera or not. It’s cruel having an eye for it but not the fingers, or rather not the connecting brain beans. Much like I have an ear for music, can pick out a harmony but have a voice like a creaky gate.
I will keep singing and playing with the edit buttons on my phone photos and have my fun but long ago I learned how to appreciate the real artists. I set aside envy and brittle justifications, they were an exhausting duo, and finally stopped I-could-do-thating at every turn.
James has no need to concoct befuddling tales, his images speak for themselves. My little eye can keep its twinkle when I look at his beautiful work – and I gladly take my hat off to celebrate that.