Introducing … the Critic

This photo on the Potomac River reminded me of how I first got started making pictures. Normally I’m a people shooter but way back in high school I would pick up my camera and just wander around, pointing the lens toward whatever caught my eye.

These days, its still fun to do pretty much the same thing, walking around looking to make nice pictures. One thing that 30 years of experience has given me is a “co-pilot” who is always there. I call him the critic, that voice in my head that keeps pushing me to make better pictures. That may seem odd but that’s what’s going on upstairs.

When I’m just getting warmed up, or when I haven’t seen anything good to shoot the voice can be kind of tough. As I scan the horizon, framing each possibility in my brains view finder I might hear the voice in a biting tone: “That sucks, or that really sucks.” As the critic, it says “That’s nothing,” or that I must suck as a shooter. Sometimes when the critic is in a really bad mood, he’ll name a certain shooter by name and say “I bet Brian Lanker would have already found a nice photo”.  Once I see something that catches my eye the voice softens and becomes more of a collaborator. Then I hear: ”HEY, HEY, HEY LOOK AT THAT, yeah that just might be something cool, we can work with that……..and then I pick up the camera and off we go.

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