Long Exposure #3 : Challenge accepted!

Celine built Photoblogchallenges from the ground up almost 3 years ago. She was already very passionate about photography and very involved in sites like Moody Mondays, Two for Tuesdays and posting/commenting daily on Aminus. Each challenge site had its specialty and its core of participants. The idea behind photoblogchallenges was to try to federate all the various sites into one and showcase the pictures to as much people as possible. It’s not because you don’t do macro photography that you can’t appreciate it and can’t vote for it.
After more than 440 challenges offered (about 3 per week), I’m really glad to be part of this adventure. It gave me the opportunity to see some amazing shots over the years and interact with great people. I’m always sad when I realize that some regular is not participating anymore but I’m overjoyed when I see someone new giving the challenges a try. There’s a lot of anticipation and questions. Will he have fun? How “good” will his pictures be? Will they be on topic? Will he come back? Will he participate to all the challenges or only some? These questions are important to me as Celine puts her heart, soul and countless hours in the site without expecting anything back. (donations or comments are encouraged)

Art is subjective and is about feelings and expression(s). What I look for in a challenge is to see how my pictures are received. I know what I wanted to achieve with my shot, but if it doesn’t translate to the viewer, I failed. When I participate in a challenge, winning is not the most important thing. I want to know where I’m at and how I stack against the competition. I’m still learning daily and I find that to challenge yourself is a way to move forward. I discovered Smoke Photography, Water droplet, macro (among others) through challenges and I do believe that I’m a better photographer and editor because of it.

I have the feeling that I’m ready to move from Single-A to AA and maybe one day I will join the Majors. For that I still need to work and learn a lot but I still have plenty of time.
Here are 2 galleries of contests with inspiring shots:
PopPhoto August Best submissions
Winners of the 2013 Red Bull Illume contest

Long Exposure #2 : What is a photographer?

By definition a photographer is a person that takes photographs.
Does that mean that all the person that take photographs are photographers?

Being a photographer is more than the mechanical action of pushing a button.
Being a photographer is more than sharing your craft.

To be a photographer, you need to think, see, capture and deliver.

To think is to look for what your subject will be. Will it be something personal or something mundane? An object or a person? Is it part of a bigger project? Is it a one-shot? What is the story you want to convey?

To see is to imagine your subject in your ideal picture, your perfect shot. If my subject is a striker, my ideal shot would be to see the ball leaving his foot for the winning goal, with the expression of the beaten goalkeeper caught.

To capture is to bring life to your ideal shot, put in the box what you dreamt of, to get as close as possible from your ideal shot. A photographer will often look at his picture and tell you how it could have been better; this is the difference between what he saw and what he caught.

To deliver is to release your catch in the wild, after you tamed it and made it yours. Once your delivered your final result you shouldn’t have to retouch or edit it anymore. It should be the vision you thought of, as close as possible to what you wanted it to be.

If you’re lucky, your delivery will touch a lot of people and be well received, but it’s not the number of people that sees your shots that make you a photographer. You are the photographer and taking pictures is just one facet of who you are.

When you leave and breathe photography, you’re a photographer.
I’m lucky enough to see what a photographer looks like with Celine, and I only wish it will make me better over time.

Sebastien Grobelny in the wild - caught by CelineHere’s a presentation at the Photoshop World keynote of 2013 about being a photographer (start around 15:22 until about 26:00)

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