If you think that photography is all about knowing the right techniques and having the right equipment, this is not the article for you! At Excio we believe that your photographs are a true representation of you as a photographer. It boils down to the basics – it is not just about what you photograph, but about sharing with people why you love what you photograph.
Being a conscious photographer means knowing why you are taking a photograph and what will happen to it after you have pressed the shutter release and done the post-processing.
What message does your photo tell? Is there a story? Are you passionate about something and trying to raise awareness? Where are you sharing your photo and message?
By no means do you have to start taking photographs of melting icebergs. Not at all. However, as a conscious photographer you must understand the interconnectedness of everything and everyone, no shot is insignificant.
The responsibility of social media platforms
It is our job as photographers to not only use photography to open the world to people, but to take care of and protect the places we love. First when you are taking the photo and then, when you are sharing it, by making a conscious choice of how to share your image and what information to add about it.
It's so important to be mindful of over-tourism and the damage and destruction it has brought to so many places. The Wanaka Tree in NZ is a well known example but now, the latest victim of over-tourism, is Maya Beach in Thailand which has been closed so that the environment can recover.
We all know that images are capable of inspiring wanderlust and we're all guilty of getting itchy feet after seeing that beautiful beach/woodland/street on Instagram but be conscious when you share your photographs on social media, keep the location general – that will encourage people to actually spend some time searching for the location (if they can be bothered) rather than pinning it to Google maps and jumping on the next available flight.
“But then how can I become known? How can I be recognised?” you ask. If you don’t add #hashtags or are not shooting at popular locations, chances are minimal that you will be noticed in the big wide world of photo sharing. Competing with billions of images every day, “the challenge is in finding an angle not already plastered all over social media” says Peter Laurenson, one of our Excio members. Don’t follow the trodden path, follow your own journey.
Being a conscious photographer means interpreting what you photograph through your own lens and telling a story.
Having a clear vision of what you want to tell is the main step in creating conscious images. See what Peter Kurdulija says about one of his photos:
Knowing what you want to photograph, how, and why is so important if you want your images to trigger interest, to be understood by a viewer and to make an impact.
Millions of new photographs are uploaded daily which all add to the online noise. However, what varies, and varies dramatically, is the conscious effort with which they are taken and understood by the viewer. Always remember that we are all deeply interconnected to everything in this ever-expanding world that we inhabit. In the age of influencers, gamification, and commercialization of photography, we as conscious photographers have to empower those around us and set an example for fellow photographers.
See the collections of Parmeet Sahni as she travels the world and shares her experience with us:
Join the conversation by adding your comments below or by uploading your images and stories to your Excio collections.