One fine late spring day, I go out with my camera with the intention of taking pictures of my dear city. Story of a photo shoot that will turn out to be disappointing, and deciphering.
Lille is a beautiful city, rich in magnificent Flemish style buildings, rich in history, with diversified districts, rich in small streets full of charm. Small streets that it is good to walk through with Summertime in the ears, a song which, carried by Janis Joplin’s voice, makes the heart beat a little faster, even when it’s not yet summer 😉
I get lost in lyrical flights of fancy, but all this to say that Lille has had to photographic potential. In my learning of photography, I thought it would be interesting to take advantage of my knowledge of the city to make pictures that are worthwhile. In Lille, I know a corner (which will remain secret) where you can contemplate most of the large buildings in the city center, from above, and at 360°. It’s a little piece of heaven in the middle of the urban jungle, and it’s probably the best place to take pictures of the city.
It’s only natural that I started there. And this is what it looks like:
As you can see, nothing out of the ordinary. Clichés from a rather original point of view, not ugly, but clichés of a distressing banalityI must confess. So why are these clichés relatively (if not really) bad?
Well, I’ve fallen into what I call the postcard photo trap : that’s typically how you would frame pictures to put them on postcards (I’m not saying they’re of the same quality, though ^^). They’re a bit clichéd if you prefer 😉 The problem is that these are the photos that all and sundry done. No originality, no research. And believe me, it’s easy to fall into this trap for pictures of tourist spots.
What do people photograph when they arrive in Chamonix? Mont Blanc. So ok it’s the highest peak in Europe, all that, but frankly it doesn’t look like much, at least not from Chamonix. I’ll even go as far as to say that he doesn’t look like anything compared to his friends who look taller than him by the way 😀 And I’m sure there are much better pictures to be taken in Chamonix, but surely something else than Mont Blanc.
And I think we can extract a general rule from it: take a picture that people don’t take.
I ended up thinking about it that day, which resulted in the only 2 acceptable shots of the day:
After all this, you’ll probably tell me two things:
- There are still some good pictures of natural or human monuments that are very well known despite everything. The Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Coeur, or the Mont Blanc, all have been masterfully photographed at one time or another, among millions of bad pictures.
- Why are the 2 best shots of this session just acceptable when they show an original point of view of the city?
Well, we can respond to both of these reflections with the same thing. But we’ll see that in a future article where I’ll tell you about the “golden hours” 😉
Have you ever fallen into that trap yourself? How did you get out of it? Leave a comment to tell us about your experience!
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