The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Changes - and Episode 36 of Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres

Last week I discovered on YouTube that Anne & Robert from Texas had left a comment on the very first episode of Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres video podcast:

"Brilliant first video! Glad I finally got around to watching your series from the beginning."

After a brief moment of warm fuzziness (I'm a sucker for compliments), I thought I'd take a look at it to see if much had changed over the past 8 months.

I was completely caught by surprise at just how different it was. Perhaps not so much to other people, but to me it was massive.

There were more obvious physical things like the fact I was using a low resolution webcam so the picture isn't as clear; I was using the overhead lights, which created a couple of stripes across my cheeks as the light refracted through my glasses; I hadn't got a surrounding screen with the logo and links to other social media; and these days I'm about 15 pounds lighter.

Then there was the fact I wasn't asking for, or interacting with comments, which is such a major part of the podcasts now.

But I think the biggest difference, aside from the obvious nervousness, was how much less animated I was.

Most of my energy was going into attempting to make sure the technical stuff worked the way I wanted it to, and in trying desperately not to make a fool of myself.

To wander off on a tangent for a moment, it reminded me of the difference between playing music live and playing in a recording studio.

When you play live, if you fluff a note, no one else is that likely to notice, and if they do, by the time they've registered it, the song has moved on and it's quickly forgotten. As such, putting the right emotion into the playing is far more important than absolute accuracy.

However, when you are being recorded, absolute accuracy is now the highest priority. You can't have that bum note being played every single time someone listens to it.

The downside to this is you can focus so much on getting the right notes, you can lose the feeling and emotion of them.

And this is what I think I could see looking back at the early episodes – a fear of getting it wrong leading me to hold back on being more expressive.

I found myself flipping in and out of a few more videos and by about episode 15, it started to look a bit more familiar. By this time I'd cocked up so many times but the world hadn't ended, that I was much more relaxed about the whole thing.

Screwing up live on air, but just laughing at myself for doing so, is pretty much an integral part of every podcast now, but nobody seems to mind. If anything they can laugh along with me and I just become more relatable.

Far more important than technical accuracy is connection and authenticity. But it took me several months to finally realise it.


0:00 - Welcome, what's coming up, greetings and comments
4:30 - Introduction to the "Celebration" photo challenge
9:28 - Getting in close - wide aperture - zoom in - bokeh
13:23 - Notions of Still Life
32:46 - Blurring the background
40:30 - Glass as transparent, but also reflective
46:58 - Is capturing the emotion more important than getting it technically right?
1:18:30 - Introducing complementary colours to make the main one stand out
1:28:35 - Movement in Still Life
1:35:50 - Selecting your images to shape your authentic voice
1:45:38 - Revisiting the idea of emotion vs technical this time with latka...
1:58:00 - End

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