"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." - Henri Cartier-Bresson, Photographer

November 09, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I thought this week we should look at a quote from one of the Masters of Photography. I believe it is valuable to not just read a quote but rather to think about the meaning behind it and whjat we can take away from it.

"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." - Henri Cartier-Bresson, Photographer

Looking at this quote it seems Mr Cartier-Bresson is saying that experience counts for a lot in Photography and with this I have to agree completly. Even photographs you really thought were great when you took them early on may be looked at years later with a more seasoned and critical eye and we may find they were not so great at all. I feel it is valuable to try looking at your photographs from a detached and objective point of view. Do you feel your works have impoved over the years or are you still at the same level? Do you think differently when getting ready to take a photograph now compared to when you first started? I think it is also important to factor in the number 10,000 used in the quote. This number was mentioned in a time and career based on the use of film and should be thought of more in many years of practice not just the number of times you push the shutter. Now in the age of DSLR's that shoot 4-6 frames per second we have people who freely shoot 10,000 photo's in a week.

New Years Crowds

Photo above: Taken by me in Kobe, Japan on New Years.

A little about Henri Cartier-Bresson (August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004). He was a famous French Photographer known as one of the true pioneers of candid street photography/photo journalism.

What I find really interesting about him was that he had little interest in the technical aspects of photography apart from what he needed to know in order to capture the image he wanted. He did not develope his own photographs and tried to compose everything in the viewfinder. He did not care about the latest greatest camera equipment and shot with an old Leica Rangefinger wrappen in black tape to make it more discreet. Many of us fall into the trap of wanting the newest gear and worry about a half an extra frame per second or an extra f/stop. 

I encourage you to check out his amazing works.

 


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