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Spending Time With Photography

black and white photo of moving traffic taken from a train above the road. Spending time with photography is important to see the intricate details

Have you heard of the ancient story about the farmer who had a series of events happen and when told by friends it was good luck, or perhaps it was bad luck, the farmer would always respond with something like, “bad luck, good luck; Who really knows?” There’s a number of take aways from the fable and it’s definitely worth looking up.

Well, in a quick & short series of perhaps events that took place in the year 2022, I lost my car, proper use of my right hand and battled hard with life’s direction. It’s still undecided as to whether they were good or bad luck events but out of that, I was able to upgrade my almost 10 year old computer and get the beautiful Apple Studio with 27″ Studio Display. This computer is beautiful and the Studio Display is, in my opinion, well worth the money.

But, even though my new display is part of the article, we’re not here for a product review. This is about spending time with photography and seeing photographs how they’re meant to be seen.

Spending Time With Photography - Like, real time.

Recently it became apparent that more and more time was being spent scrolling Instagram. It was fantastic. I was meeting new photographers (albeit mostly virtually but also in person too) from around the world, we were discussing ideas, and shoots, and concepts and life in general. The community was, and still is phenomenal. The catch was, I was seeing and liking tens or even hundreds of photographs each day but they rarely stayed with me for longer than a few seconds. 

Catching myself out on this, and seeing a few photographers releasing books, I started buying photo books. One of the early investments was Matt Day’s ‘Friend of Mine’. This is an absolute joy to flick through page after page of well crafted black and white film photography. When I first picked it up, I scrolled through a couple of times and put it down. Then I picked it up again a few days later and went through those pages again. I saw it differently that time, and every time since for that matter, each time seeing something new that was obviously always there but I’d just not seen yet.

A Shelf just for photo books

Now I have a dedicated shelf in our book case for my recent infatuation with photo books. Books from all over the world. Portraits, war, local insights, and a whole host of topics and themes, not to mention photographers. But the key here is the time I get to spend with an image, oh, and the size I’m able to see it in. My daily routine has since changed as a result of this shelf and before I spend any time on social media, I spend a couple of hours each day reading books and amongst the pages of some of my favourite photo books.

Unlike the 2″ x 2″ image on Instagram, these images are sometimes larger than the average A4 sheet of paper. It’s glorious. The amount of detail you can see when the images are a fraction bigger is phenomenal. And spending time with photography like that, being able to revisit an image, or series of images time and time again allows the viewer to find more and more things each time.

Being intentional in my own photography.

In the beginning of my time as a photographer, it was BMX magazines that got me hooked. Again, sitting down after a solid ride and looking at photographs from around Australia and reading about riders and spots and competitions and jams, that’s where down time was spent; within those pages.

I started making photographs of my own and submitting them to Australian BMX magazines and soon enough, I was seeing my work in all it’s printed and published glory. Not that I knew it at the time, but every time I went out shooting interviews or articles or advertisements or whatever it was for, there was an underlying intention for each photograph.

“Oh, this is for an interview in 2020 BMX Magazine,” I’d say. Or, “we’re shooting an ad for WeThePeople.” There was always a purpose. A vision of where I’d hoped my image would end up and who would see it and why. I’m not going to toot my own horn but hearing stories from people years later how my photographs in magazines helped shape their BMX lives will never get old.

What's my intention now? Where do I want my photographs?

Bringing things back to my Apple Studio Display, this is important because it sparked this whole conversation I’ve been having with myself. My photographs, even my more crappy ones, were immediately looking better. The feature image for this very article is a prime example of that. In the two inch Insta format, you miss the way the cars are matching speed to my train. Whereas on this stunning 27″ display, all the details and nuances are clear and intriguing.

This new display helped remind me that good photography needs to be bigger than Instagram. That prints need to be made, books printed, articles written. And then they need to be put down to be revisited another day. A larger computer screen helped me see that my biggest intention is to share stories, and naturally, have you spend more time with photography. To slow down and enjoy more of what photography has to offer, the stories told and lost details in each capture. I hope that you open up the laptop to read this (and any future articles I write) on a larger screen. I hope you book mark these pages, share them with your friends and family and revisit them from time to time.

What's this mean for Gorak Photo in 2023?

Yesterday I ordered two sample copies of a book I hope to release. (YAY!!) Every first Sunday of the month, a group of photo enthusiasts are getting together and going walkabout and intend on release another book of all our work. I hope this is just the beginning. I’m making steps towards more printed work, in book form, magazines, and individual fine art prints. As for social media posts, I dare say I’ll reduce those to a select few that all point to something larger.

On top of that, I hope to make some leaps forward in making portraits and stories of more people in small business. Not only do I want to use my own experience in small business to help in others, but I have started a small project documenting local small business owners and why they believe small is better.

There’s plenty in store for 2023. More intentional action towards my photography and far less mindless scrolling. (Although I’m sure I’ll still do that at times, too)

If you’ve made it this far, well done! GOLD STAR. Thank you. I love and appreciate you all.

black and white photograph of construction in melbourne photo of the day

Images look better when they're bigger

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