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A Thousand Pictures Do Not Tell A Story

Popularity 4Viewed 8315 times 2013-11-30 14:04 |System category:Life| photography, travel, friends, photos

Recently, a friend of mine got back from a trip to Europe. We ordered our coffees and as she took out her iPad, I eagerly awaited seeing a handful of interesting shots from Spain, France, Switzerland . . . Two hours later and we had only hit the three-quarter mark of those photos. She had literally taken thousands! I stumbled out of the café irritably with a headache and bleary eyes.

When I got home I looked at my own stack of travel photos. Yes, I too am guilty of shooting far too many snaps - I rolled my eyes at myself and asked why the hell did I need five photos of the same mountain? But here's the crucial difference - when I post photos on my Facebook or if I go out for coffee with a friend to talk about my trip, I whittle down my hoard of photos down to a comprehensible level. But still, in my opinion, a hundred or so photos is still too much.

It's great that we can take a photo now, look at it and delete it if it's terrible, but this freedom comes with a flipside. It also means we can take multiple photos and just keep shooting without thinking of the quality of our shoot. After all, it costs nothing to delete a photo so why not take as many as possible? It also seems that there is this pressure to capture everything about a place visited, almost as if we are trying to say we were actually here and look at what an awesome, amazing time we are having.

I feel this pressure as do many people. However, after looking over my travel shots with a critical eye, I have realised that most of them aren't meaningful at all nor do they capture the heart of the place I was visiting.

Here's my plan - I am going to buy a polaroid camera. Polaroids are not cheap and you can't just waste away an afternoon taking five thousand photos of a building with them. But you can take one shot of something and, pretty or not, it is your photo of it. It is raw and real and worth a million of those digitally altered photos. Another idea would be to buy a much smaller memory card so that it's not possible to take a billion photos, forcing you to be more selective with your shots.

The benefit of this is that you'll actually see the place you have gone too. I remember being on The Great Wall and feeling really angry at myself for feeling so compelled to take photo after photo, when really I just wanted to take one or two and then explore the rest with my eyes.

 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report KristaChen 2013-12-3 02:52
Very good thinking about photography. However, i think it does no harm to take many photos though some are not as good as you expected. As time goes by, your photo skills will eventually get improved. The most improtant thing is to read more great photos from excellent photographers and find out why this photo looks great. A good photo tells stories, but not easy for everyone to get. To limit your memory stick  or using  Polaroids might be a good idea, however, you might also feel regret that you don't have enough shots. You are always able to select good ones later, even a film maker takes 8 to 10 shots just for one action...
Reply Report AroundTheWrldK8 2013-12-3 08:06
KristaChen: Very good thinking about photography. However, i think it does no harm to take many photos though some are not as good as you expected. As time goes b ...
Good point :)
Reply Report Kevinfly 2013-12-4 09:43
Do not forget what your original purpose is when you just focus on taking photography.
Reply Report AroundTheWrldK8 2013-12-4 17:32
Kevinfly: Do not forget what your original purpose is when you just focus on taking photography.
That's what I mean - take a good photo, put the camera away and enjoy the moment.
Reply Report luchengcat 2013-12-4 20:04
just take photos as you like,don't think too much .after all you are travelling for fun
Reply Report AroundTheWrldK8 2013-12-5 09:22
luchengcat: just take photos as you like,don't think too much .after all you are travelling for fun
I totally agree! My friend went to Paris once and she didn't take a single photo - not even one of the Eiffel Tower! And she said it's all in her memory and drawings. (Although I would take one little photo of the Eiffel Tower!!)
Reply Report luchengcat 2013-12-5 13:42
AroundTheWrldK8: I totally agree! My friend went to Paris once and she didn't take a single photo - not even one of the Eiffel Tower! And she said it's all in her memo ...
oh , honour to be replied by u
Reply Report AroundTheWrldK8 2013-12-6 08:50
luchengcat: oh , honour to be replied by u
Haha! Thanks  
Reply Report luchengcat 2014-1-8 10:53
AroundTheWrldK8: Haha! Thanks   
so , u are not american,i guess

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