Article by Ottawa West/Kanata Black & White Film Portrait Photographer, Jeff Ryan/Ryan Photography Studio.

As an instructor, I wish to take this opportunity to “reflect briefly” on areas pertaining to the creation of imagery, and thoughts related to you as an individual, and your mission of statement regarding the arts, which are discussed in a general sense.

In regards to the creation of photographic imagery in this most highly computerized society, kindly recognize that the greatest images of all time have been created with a very limited, basic amount of equipment. Countless photographers I have been witness to over the years frequently have a tendency to get unnecessarily caught up in excessive gadgetry, which seldom increases their ability to produce imagery of greater quality.

“Know in your heart that every seed visually is a longing for the expansion of thought, accompanied with the basics of visual construction and the affordability of time”.

Should you choose to fully open your eyes in the truest of visual sense, you would become a natural duplicate of self plus host the ability to abort your personal, historical approaches in all said imagery. Always proceed from these believable coordinates of self…..that it takes truth to be represented in two parts of oneself. An individual expresses it initially, verbally, then, another artistic aspect of self fully interprets it’s meaning. An equilibrium as such is established here and certainly not one within question. Remove the scales from your eyes which dictate predetermined patterns of thought and be entertained by new levels visually enhancing the objectivities in life! A juxtaposition of soul and existence itself, shall be endowed on your plateaus of new dimensions.

The subtraction of visual elements in your seeing involves to a certain extent a discrediting of select subject matter, and henceforth, glorifying that of another.
As a photographic artist or that of any other accredited vocation, you must acknowledge the absolute given fact that your eyes/moral beliefs are the photographic mirror of your soul… the template of your being. Live by this recognized and accepted vision in it’s truest sense pertaining to all interaction with others in visual art communities, and tides of replenishment will award you.

When conversing with students, I frequently suggest in the beginning stages of “learning to see artistically”, that utilizing a portable hand held cardboard framing device with a rectangular viewing area removed from the centre, is that which I recommend. This selectively eliminates uncomplimentary visual objects from a scene, hindering its overall splendour. Again, a basic viewing tool is more than adequate during the novitiate stages of visual design, in comparison to purchasing several costly zoom lenses obtaining similar visual results.

Distinguishing yourself as an artist of intent contingent to the limitation of equipment, will direct you to a greater sense of clarification in design. This increases your ability to concentrate fully on your subject matter thereby producing stronger, purposeful compositions. Simplifying your equipment requirements and your life in a general sense will remove excessive difficulties and obstacles referred to as blocks, freeing your spirit and alternately, your levels of creativity. A frequent excersize I still adhere to over a career extending 40 years, is to attach one basic standard lens on my camera and assign myself the task of creating several different compositions with a limited amount of subject matter. This removal of all subsidiary equipment redirects you as a visual artist to examine in depth areas of compositions that you would quickly oversee and might have deemed initially unworthy.

Strive for clarification in your imagery. Ask yourself frequently in the decision making process, what it was that attracted you to this particular location to want to create imagery. This process of thought will perpetuate pictorials reflecting many aspects of your personality that should not be discarded.


Photographing with limited amounts of equipment creates a level of dynamics that your personality should be allowed to express uninhibited by the judgement of others. Understandably and most respectfully spoken to readers at this time, opinions of others have no meaning whatsoever if you walk your given path of identity as an artist or individual of credibility.

“It has been my experience that many photographic doctrines are representative of the transparency of window panes. Photographers see clearly through them recognizing two distinct mediums visually, however seldom does it divide many from the visual truth of all or the entity of a singular decision”.

Always consider that the procreation of imagery is one of giving more in a generous state than you feel capable of, and in the humblest sense of pride, taking less than you need.

With My Good Wishes…..Jeff Ryan Photography/Ryan Imaging Studio, West Ottawa/Kanata Photographer.


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