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Conceptual photography is one way of using photography to explore ideas and emotions. For some, this means taking photographs to explore what it is like to be someone else. For others, this could mean photographing objects or landscapes to think about the world and how it works.
Conceptual photography can also involve a series of photographs to show different aspects of a single idea or theme. For example, you might take a series of photographs showing a child from different ages. Each photograph focuses on a different aspect of childhood such as the experience of being a toddler, the excitement of being a schoolchild, and the problems of being an adolescent.
Other conceptual photographers use photographs to focus on a particular object or concept. For example, if you have a collection of paintings by great artists, you might use a set of photographs to look at each artist’s view of what art is and how it should be made. The photographer might make a series of portraits of famous artists. They might show the artist at work in their studio or, if they are particularly good, they might show them in unusual places, for instance, sitting on the beach or in the snow.
Some conceptual photographers make photographs that reflect an idea or emotion. These can be found in everyday objects, for instance, an old pair of shoes, or in the landscape, for example, a field of grasses.
Conceptual photographers have been working in a wide range of ways for a long time. A number of photographers have focused on the emotional impact of war, while other artists have explored the experience of living in the modern world. There are also many photographers who have taken a philosophical approach to their work.
Why do people choose to take conceptual photographs?
There are two main reasons why people choose to take conceptual photographs. First, the process of taking the photographs is interesting and often challenging. Second, there is a lot of freedom to work in a way that reflects the way you want to see the world. You can work on ideas and emotions that interest you and explore the way that you see the world. This means that conceptual photography is a rewarding creative activity that allows you to develop and grow as a photographer.
How to take Conceptual Photographs
As a starting point, you need to know what kind of images you want to make. You may find it useful to think about the emotions and ideas that you would like to explore. For example, you might want to make a series of photographs of an event or place that you have never visited.
As a way of thinking about the themes you want to explore, you might consider what you already know about them. If, for example, you want to photograph children, you might ask yourself whether they have been playing in the park or in the playground. Are they eating well? What kinds of food do they like? You could also ask yourself how they react to new experiences.
To find out more about the kinds of images you want to make, you could watch a film or read a book. Films often have interesting stories and books often have lots of photographs and drawings to illustrate the text.
The second step is choosing the images you want to take. If you want to make photographs of children, for example, you need to decide where to go. How do you want to find them? What kind of children will you be looking for? Perhaps you might prefer to go to a children’s party or a school, for example.
If you are planning to make a series of photographs of children, you will need to think about the themes you want to explore. For example, you could make a series of portraits of children who are at different stages of life. Or you could make a series of images to show a child as they grow up. Or, you could take photographs of a child as they play.
Once you have decided where you are going to look for children, you need to decide which ones to photograph. For example, if you want to photograph children who are in primary school, you need to be in the classroom at the right time. You will also need to make sure that the children are not disturbed.
You might want to start by looking in a newspaper. Look for announcements of events that you might like to photograph. Or you could talk to your friends who have children, and ask them to let you know about any local activities that they might have heard about.
Once you have found a place that you would like to visit, you will need to think about how you will get there. You might like to make a list of questions to ask yourself. For example, you might ask yourself:
- Is it safe to travel in my area?
- Are the roads easily accessible?
- How far is it to the place I am visiting?
- Do the buses run frequently or do I need to walk?
- Are there any particular routes that I should avoid?
- You will also need to consider what you are going to wear.
If you are going to be in a place where you don’t know the language, you will also need to make sure that you understand the customs and etiquette. You will also need to think about the weather.
Once you have planned your route, it is time to think about your equipment. In order to make good photographs, you need a camera and lenses that suit your purposes. You will also need to be aware of the lighting in the place you are visiting. You should make sure that your camera and lenses are clean. You may also need a tripod and some extra batteries.
You will also need to make sure that you are well dressed. Make sure that you look your best, in case you are photographed.
Finally, you will need to think about what to do when you arrive. Should you make an appointment? Or can you just go in and take the photographs?
The third step is to start making your photographs. It can be helpful to make a list of questions that you will ask yourself as you take the photographs.