Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Real and Unique Pleasure

I’m Shahriar Shahidi my friends call me Shah. I started photography about ten years ago after being given a camera. I wanted to discover landscapes. It became a revelation in my life. I realized that there are endless possibilities and different ways to reinvent reality. For me, there was no doubt. I felt this inner calling which gave sense to everything. I try to use my camera as an asset to myself and not to stress others. First I was using film. I was loving its transformative power and I felt it could be easily intellectualized. Then, I stopped photography for a few years. I went back to it in 2012. I wanted a new start and tried digital. It was like another language, I felt new possibilities and it...

Kill Your Babies

I have a problem. I often get too attached to my photos, especially my bad ones. I look at all of them like my children and I have a hard time deciding which to keep and which to ditch.   One mantra I have always tried to remind myself is: “Kill your babies.”   The problem is that our photos are like our babies and the idea of getting rid of them especially “killing them” is emotionally painful. And if the phrase “kill your babies” is too graphic for you, I recommend the British saying, “Kill your darlings.”   The problem in today’s society is that we have an overabundance of stuff, information and especially images. Every minute there are hundreds and thousands of images being uploaded to the internet. And 99% of these images are...

The Beauty of “Creative Constraints”

I was having a chat with my friend Paul McCann about cameras in photography. He made a great point: why is it that we as photographers always talk about the camera we want that will apparently make us more creative rather than using the cameras we already own to create art?   I think we can make beautiful art regardless of the tools or instruments we have. Rather than goading for what we don’t have.   The best example in landscape photography is the emergence of “mobile landscape photography”, in which photographers from all around the world are only using smartphones to make beautiful images.   But some people say: “Oh, but a smartphone isn’t a real camera and that it has limitations. It has low ISO capability, you can’t print it big, and it isn’t...

I Was a Cropaholic

A common mistake a lot of photographers make is that they over-crop their shots. They are “cropaholics,” in which they crop almost every single photograph.   I was a “cropaholic.” When I shot in the landscape, I would be sloppy. I disregarded framing, as I told myself, “hey if I don’t get the shot right, I can always crop it later.”   However when I learnt this lesson from Henri Cartier-Bresson (the master street photographer on composition), I decided to give it a try. At first, it was difficult not to crop my shots. But when I gave myself the “creative constraint” of not cropping, it forced me to improve my framing in-camera.   Over the course of a year, I discovered that my framing and composition got much better. I worked harder to get the...