Exposed! :: TAM - Grave Medical Condition Affects Photographers ::
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Itís a grave condition - and very serious to any creative person - Territorial Artistic Myopia (TAM) affects the ability to create stunning photos in familiar or "uninspiring" surroundings.
In this monthís Exposed! we explore this dreadful condition and examine signs, symptoms and appropriate treatments.
Years ago a friend asked "Harry, do you travel much with your stock photography?"
At the time I responded "Not that much, why?"
"Well thereís nothing to shoot around here. I always have to travel to get good shots."
I just nodded and smiled. He had a bad case of Territorial Artistic Myopia.
You heard right - Territorial Artistic Myopia or TAM. It can affect anyone at any time. Numbed by the familiar and seemingly ordinary, the TAM victim slowly loses any desire to take pictures. Not recognizing or acknowledging their symptoms they often blame their condition on a lack of travel to new and exciting places - "If only I could get to Gullfoss*," they lament.
The photographer inflicted with TAM becomes listless and uninspired. Their camera equipment gets dusty and they start looking at travel websites. The TAM patientís spark, zest and creativity deteriorate and they consider taking up another hobby. They may cover their inadequacies by claiming, "Iíve photographed everything worth taking."
The first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem! Often the photography enthusiast has hit a plateau - they are no longer challenged. And they need a nudge (or a metaphorical kick) to start climbing a new learning curve.
Sometimes, on my Creative Fundamentals or other courses, an intermediate photographer will cruise through the practical part of the course. Itís obvious they understand the technical skills. During the critique session I have seen cruisers' jaws drop when they see what others have captured - using identical visual opportunities and similar equipment. It makes me smile - I know the cruiser's case of TAM is about to improve.
There is help.
If you recognize symptoms of Territorial Artistic Myopia it is time to take action. There are different treatments available:
I shoot stock. My version of normal is snowy winters, boreal forest and modern North American city scapes. Boring? Not to someone from Australia who has never seen snow! My job is to bring pizzazz to subjects that are normal to me. If I find them boring, uninspiring or start wishing for different surroundings I know I am not doing my job. There is beauty everywhere and in everything. It is my job as a photographer to create the extra in ordinary!
The car photo, above right, was taken in a ten year old car on a road 3km from my house - in my neighbourhood with ordinary objects. The effects were created in the camera, on film, with techniques I developed in my neighbourhood. Check this and other inspirational cures for TAM at my new (and growing) fine art site, ChelseaGallery.ca. Most of the photos were taken within 25 km of my home.
Travel photography is fun. But make sure your creativity is not stagnant in more familiar surroundings. Be aware of the subtle beauty around you! Challenge yourself and be sure to recognize the symptoms of Territorial Artistic Myopia before itís too late!
Take photos. Have fun!
We have the winners!
I disqualified my Dad as I felt it may create a major "insider" scandal!