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David duChemin: Shoot what you love. You don't have to be every photographer in the world. If you look at Ansel Adams' work, and you go, "Oh, technically that's really nice and it's good work, but I have no interest in landscapes," don't shoot landscapes. Your view of the world - the things that interest you, the things of which you are passionate... Lately there's this mantra going around, "Shoot what you love." Absolutely, shoot what you love. Shoot what you're curious about. Shoot what you're interested in. You don't have to shoot everything. When you become aware of your bigger vision - your macro vision - that will inform how and what you photograph, because suddenly you realize, "I saw these great pictures of a dog, and they were shot in HDR. And they were really cool, and I want to go shoot pictures of dogs in HDR." But then you realize, "Not only do I really not like HDR, but I actually don't care for dogs." That's probably a good sign that you're not going to be interested in shooting this. But ask yourself, "What did I see in that photograph that made me think I should even shoot that, because maybe then there's something I can then...?" I go back into my resource, my macro-vision, and go, "What am I interested in? What do I love shooting?" That's one of the reasons I encourage people to study as broadly as they can. Look at landscape photographers. If you see something you like, don't go, "I don't like landscapes." You like photographs, and movies. You like movies, and songs. What are the songs you like? What are the movies you like? Why do you like them? If there's something you're drawn to... If I go to your home and look at your bookshelf, what's on your bookshelf? What's on your DVD rack? What's on your iPod? Those are hints about what your vision is. You see the world in a certain way. The things you choose to listen to are generally things you choose to listen to because they reinforce the way you see the world. If you're dark and moody, you're probably going to listen to all kinds of nihilistic thrash death metal. I may be wrong. Maybe you listen to Lee Ann Womack or something. Maybe that's what's making you dark and moody and depressed. But chances are, the stuff that you input in your life is reflective of your vision at large.
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