ARTH101 Discussion Topic 8: Here a Photo, There a Photo, Everywhere a Photo

Visual information is the key in making social networking so popular. From digital cameras to mobile phones, taking pictures has become an everyday experience for most of us.

  • How often do you take pictures?
  • What device do you usually use to take them?
  • How much attention do you devote to composition, lighting or arrangement in your pictures?
  • How do you use the images?
  • How do you think you can improve your photos?

Digital cameras have revolutionized photography - but not always for the better. I have a Pentax Optio A10 and originally found myself taking endless photographs which, apart from a few, were singularly boring. T here were photos of family, friends, travel, bushwalks, building interiors, building exteriors, children, special occasions, trees, gardens and artwork. Composition, lighting and arrangement were rarely factors in these photographs - sadly. However some ruthless culling made a huge difference, and I can enjoy reminiscing about a time, place or event without having to wade through endless poorly presented pictures.

Some of the images have been photoshopped and used in Christmas or birthday cards; others are simply filed in years and are regularly visited as ‘historic’’ reminders. I now find that although 'spontaneous’photographs can work well, some of the best shots are when take time to focus on composition in particular.

I enjoy using Pic’s Art application to edit my photo’s that I’m finding more interesting. Another reason I’m doing this, is the fact that although I love paintings , it’s hard for me to achieve the result I imagine by using brushes or charcoals and pastels. In contradiction , I do a better job with clay sculpture, as I find it easier to express myself.
However, here are some photos I would like to share

Things have certainly evolved since I was in high school developing photos in the dark room from 35 mm film. I currently use a Canon EOS digital camera which entails a lot more learning about technical details on top of the traditional photography techniques required to take good photos.

I mostly take photos when I travel; since I live in China the sites and subjects are endless and I take them for documenting and immortalizing moments of my short span on this earth. I like to think that, even though we live in this digital age where people’s attention spans are quite short and limited, once I am no longer amongst the living I can leave some powerful images for my descendents and others who wish to gain from admiring them. For this, I’ve made it a purpose to learn more about composition and other photography techniques and concepts.

National Geographic has a good primer on the subject (Guide to Photography - Photography Basics) which outlines some key concepts to follow when taking pictures. We cannot underestimate the power of these basic concepts – such as Lighting, Color, Composition, Focal Point, the Rule of Thirds, and Leading Lines – have on this particular art medium. In addition, the magical means by which one can include a sense of story telling in a photograph is not to be forsaken. And as I learn more about these and other concepts, I try to integrate them as much as possible when I take photographs.

Today’s social media sphere (and the world in general) is oversaturated with visual and other stimuli, making it difficult for you or your work to get noticed. I think nowadays with the advent of smartphone and digital cameras most people tend to take too many photos (including those selfies!). The drawback of this is that we substitute quality for quantity. Personally, I’d rather take many images but after reviewing them, only keep the ones that are technically the best and that can tell a story. I am starting to write a book about my 10 years living as a foreigner in China. I will only be able to include a select amount of photographs in my book; so I will need to carefully choose those that are technically radiant, have intrigue, and can tell a story.

I think the best way to improve the art of photography is to learn more about the craft and also look at other people’s photos. National Geographic’s Your Shot is a great place to start, as it can help train your eye so to speak.

  • Dan Fournier, 2016-01-25


Thanks for the info! I’m also a fan of Geography

I take photographs every couple of weeks setting aside time for that purpose. I use a 35mm film camera. I think all the elements that apply to any artistic picture apply to photographs. I use the images in shows and exhibits. I am hoping to improve by studying this course.


I typically take pictures a few times a week and with my smartphone. When editing pictures, I’ll adjust the brightness or contrast. I’ll also adjust the warmth or saturation. Additionally, if there is something in the picture I want to focus on, I will slightly blur out the background. I’ll use these images on social media platforms. I can improve these photos by using a better camera and also getting better at editing.

I have been fortunate in my life that members of my family have kept “old-fashioned” cameras around and in pretty good shape so I have been exposed to cameras that have come and gone in time. I remember when I was a child I would play with a camera my grandparents had that allowed you to take a picture then printed the image immediately after. The image then had to be shaken to activate the chemicals in order to see the image. Although I was never really any good with this camera, it was amazing to my childish mind that I could capture something in an image forever. I also remember as I got older having the disposable cameras and having to wait for what seemed like forever for the film to be developed. Only then would you be able to see if any of the pictures you took were actually usable or duds.

More recently, however, I have had the opportunity to witness the revolution of and the progress of cameras on cell phones. Those in my generation thought cell phones were the most amazing thing that was ever invented and the addition of the camera made it even better. The cell phone went with us wherever we went so the camera was always there as well. It made memorable moments last a lifetime and made selfies the up and coming trend.

Although I was never into selfies, I never thought myself photogenic, I did like to take pictures particularly of nature. When I am out in nature, I fill up my phone’s space taking images of nature because it is so beautiful and the way the light, or lack thereof, so for me lighting and composition are important. I do take pictures often and because of my cell phone is always on me I do have access to a camera even though it isn’t professional or by any means a quality camera but it does take fairly clear, amateur photos that I enjoy. I have used my images on my walls in my house, framed them, and designed rooms around the pieces and have had family do the same.

With practice and taking the time to actually read about how to take more professional images, my images could greatly be improved but until that time, I am quite satisfied with them so far. Like I always say, there is always something to learn and room for improvement.