(Nikon D7000 / 16 to 85 mm f3.5 to 5.6 - 52 mm / 1/30th / f6.3 / ISO 200)
The Most Important Photos You'll Ever Take
We generally start our photographic journey taking pictures of people. Our family. Our friends. At Christmas. On holiday. At a special dinner. At a party.
Then as we get more adventurous we start to take pictures without people in them.
The deserted beach. The woodland scene. The cloudscape at sunset.
We develop a taste for various types of photography.
Landscape. Nature. Macro. Portrait. Street. Abstract.
But, never forget to keep taking those pictures of the people most important to you - your family & friends.
I've just spend a few weeks de-cluttering. And as part of the process I ended up going through bags & bags of old photogaraphs - spanning 4 generations. It was like travelling back in time.
The oldest photos were few and far between. Taking photographs in the 1930s & 1940s was a serious business. Some are in sepia. And some in black & white. (Interestingly most are pin sharp - possibly helped by the fact that they were most likely taken with a fixed focus lens.) And the photos themselves are very small - some just one and a half inches by one and a half inches square. And all of the photos in this period were of people. My photographic ancestors obviously thought that the only thing worth photographing was people. And it was a frivilous waste of time (& money) to shoot anything else.
People at weddings. People on holiday at the beach. People at a family gathering. But the common theme is people.
Then in the 1950s things get a little more sophisticated. The photos are still in black & white, but there are more of them. And they get bigger. Typically around 3 inches by 2 inches (around 8 cm by 5 cm). And the subjects are now often smiling in the pictures. And it is not just weddings, holidays and family gatherings - although they feature heavily. But they now also include people at such 'frivolous' activities as dances!
In the 1960s the prints get even bigger - and there are much more numerous. And I start being featured in them. And as taking photographs has become much more affordable, the camera is now being taken everywhere. And we start to get some pictures without people.
And then in the 1970s, colour arrives. Although looking at the faded, muted colours, it is a colour palette that does not marry with real life. Photos are getting larger. And more shots are 'non-people' shots.
In the 1980s, 1990s and beyond the prints continue to grow in size - the last few batches 5 inches by 7 inches (around 13 cm by 18 cm). And lots of pictures of 'things' - but by now - my Mother & Father - for it is their house I am de-cluttering - have a new favourite subject to photograph - their grand children.
The span is over 80 years - but family & friends - but especially family - are the constant theme.
And as I sort, the ones I am keeping are largely those. A snapshot of family in years gone by.
And what of the deserted beach shot? The waterfall shot? The harbour by night shot? All with no-one in them. Sorry. They don't make it. I admire them. I appreciate them. But the keepers are the ones with family.
So, don't stop taking your landscape shots. Or nature. Or macro. Or abstract.
But do still find time to photograph your family & friends.
Because, in all probability, those are the ones your children, your grand-children & your great grand-children will want you to keep.