"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" (Henri Cartier-Bresson)
As I've not blogged for a while I thought I'd curate some of my favourite pictures taken over the past 10 years since first becoming interested in amateur photography, something compelled initially by working in journalism as to take your own decent-standard pics and not rely on stock images is always an asset.
Even without the professional compulsion though I'd still have been drawn to the artform having been worn down over the years by the deluge of badly-composed snaps forming the bulk of Facebook/Instagram landfill, often seeing galleries of 100 samey shots of a single weekend away or, in extreme cases, a night out. It progressively pushed me down the quality not quantity route, always whittling pics down to the best ones, hoping others will too.
Which leads back to the opening quote: from the thousands of photos taken on the only two digital cameras I've owned since 2004 - a £70 Kodak compact & a Canon EOS - only a handful are truly good, frameable images. I've never been on a course nor read any books, just took tips on the basics from a couple of friends who had done and a few jobbing snappers met in the line of the duty: rule of thirds, depth of field, patterns & lines, etc. And in constantly beholding pros' work, whether in articles or exhibitions, it all eventually becomes clear.
It was fun to look in hindsight at my earliest snaps, taken with no aforethought of exposure or aperture values, often using those £5 disposables from Boots - most were immediately binned but a fair few still passed muster sheerly through unwittingly decent composition and often luck with light sources. Spontaneity always good too; no rules-ruminating.
I think the essence of Cartier-Bresson's quote isn't its literal meaning but that, as in most pursuits, you will always improve. I've hardly ever used Photoshop, not on the below images anyway, which were edited only with the software that came with the cameras, to tweak levels and sometimes sharpness. Only the kit lens used with the Canon, no filters and all hand-held - don't think I'll ever make it to the tripod stage.
KODAK COMPACT, 2004-2011
MATE'S UNSPECIFIED SLR, 2004-2006
CANON EOS DSLR, 2007-2014
See also: travel blog post on best travel photos at Proper Mileage