We Love Photography - We Hate Cockroaches
Someone in the shop asked me how I got good results for belly dance photographs and images of model cars. I think they wanted me to tell them a secret of a special lens or a special light - an item they could buy to improve their own pictures. I was delighted to tell them the secret, but it did not involve selling a piece of equipment - it involved selling an idea. And the price was cheap.
The real way to get good images of anything - cars, cockroaches, brides, or belly dancers - is to either love or hate the basic subject. You can choose for yourself which emotion you fancy, and you can freely switch between them as you like - provided you really do care one way or the other.
If you don't - either through general lack of interest in any topic or burnout from long exposure to it - any pictures you make will show this. And the people seeing those pictures will perceive that disinterest. That's a powerful clue for them to let them know how they should react to your work, and they will comply readily. If you don't care, they won't either, and you have wasted everybody's time.
I think this is a pretty good explanation for a number of photographic books and monographs that I have seen in bookstores in Melbourne over the years. The old Printed Image bookstore in Prahran had shelves of them - the NGV bookstores at the main gallery or their Federation Square branch are also pretty good ...errr...dump bins. Okay, not every picture book is Cowboy Kate but some of the depths of banality that are plumbed by small publishers...
Not talking about vanity photo books or self-publishing here - the things that we make of our holiday snaps or our hobbies. These actually have some substance - the audience may be limited to a family, club, or individual, but the book is often intense and treasured. At least the thick ones can be used to swat cockroaches with.
Heading image: Thanx to Jane and Henri