Here's what you do.......

Run Away World of Japan

1.  find a book on the subject of classical or dynamic 
composition.  Study it well.

2.  Read some pamphlets on basic photography just 
to get a feel about the science and mechanics of 
photography.   Study a bit about the camera's 
aperture, exposure and focus.

3.  Read anything that deals with light.  Studio 
lighting, available light, sunset and silhouette 
light,  paying close attention to the highlights and 
shadows, and learn how to use the  the soft lighting 
under a shading tree or overcast area.   Even dull
cloudy weather can provide an even gentle lighting 
of a person.   Silverware or glassware looks best in 
shaded light, but you might have to overdevelop your 
negative a wee bit,  to highten the contrast of the 
scene or your subject matter.    Or....use a harder 
contrast paper, if you are developing your own black 
and white prints.   

4.  Do some intensive research on Art.  Study all 
styles of photography.   Study the classical 
paintings.   Observe composition, direction of 
light source, subject matter and perspective.   
Study in particular the photography of  W. Eugene 
Smith and the paintings of Vermeer and Rembrandt.  
Observe closely the composition, lighting and 
the play of light and shadow.   Study the Artists 
point of observation.   (Their choice in point of 
view.)   Find any book on classical sculpture.  
Observe always the arrangement of hands on the 
sculptured work.   Very important!   Observe how 
angle of head to body affects the moods.   Study 
body language.

5.  Study people.   Watch their expressions and 
their moods.   Observe all the body language that 
is taking place in real time.  Occasionally follow 
the movement of hands on people who tend to use 
their hands together with their speaking.   Now 
and then, try to follow a person's mood as if you 
were standing in their shoes.   At this stage after 
doing the above, you can start to practice "shooting".   
When you see something that "touches" you, say "click" 
in your mind as if you were a camera, while holding 
one eye shut.  Holding one eye shut is important because 
the scene will change to two dimensions, exactly how 
it will appear on the surface of the negative.    When 
you finally hold a camera in your hands to photograph, 
it is important that you see what your camera will see.    
Observe with one eye, the subject matter that you intend 
to photograph.   Seeing in three dimensions can fool 
you because you are then seeing the world selectively.  
When you are looking at a person close up, you never 
really pay attention to the background.  The camera looks 
at everything all the time.

6.   If you are in a hurry,  developing and printing your 
own negatives and prints might be too time consuming,...
if you are in a hurry to get started.   Find a reasonal 
photo lab and have them process your work for you.  Of
course it won't hurt to enroll in a photography course
to learn the fundamentals. 
  When you get your pictures from the lab, go through 
them and try to select one of two prints to enlarge to 
a size of 24X30 cm.   Do this as often as you can with 
every roll of film.   It is necessary that you force 
yourself to choose only one or two prints.   You will 
learn as you go along to choose the best photograph.   
Often it is not how good you are at photographing,  
but it is crucially important that you know how to 
choose the best print, and of your own 
taste.  The very best of your own taste.   The best 
print is usually the one that "turns you on", that 
excites you, that  "speaks  to you",...letting you 
feel once again the incident you were following with 
your heart and mind.   If a pictures gives you goose 
bumps or "touches" you,   then you know that the 
photograph is very much a part of yourself, a reflection 
of your own private personal feelings.   After you 
have gathered several such prints, in black & white 
or in color, find a place to exhibit them.   After 
your first exhibition, you are launched, so to speak, 
and you will be on your way to making a name for 

Good luck!  and always be true to yourself.

Back to my Start page
Run Away World of Japan Carl Toothman
rewritten March 18, 2002 Halmstad, Sweden