Have a Point of Departure

With the latest video from COOPH Ralph Gibson reveals that to be a good photographer, you need a point of departure. There are some great overall tips too, but what this means is what kept coming back to me. 

To have a point of departure is not to go out and shoot. It's to have a project in mind and going out looking for a shot that represents or showcases this emotion or concept that your project is about. I've been out in Paris shooting up the city. It's a beautiful city with a lot of history and the streets are buzzing with people dressed in the most interesting attire. But I never asked myself what my point of departure is. What was it that I am trying to show here, and will it advance my photography, challenge me in some way and be unique enough to stand apart from other photographers? 

From now on, before I go shoot, I'll consult internally to focus on one thing I want to capture, and have that point of departure. It'll give purpose to my work and me being out there. The advantages are that I'll learn patience, presence and a deeper sense of observation. This is a powerful and deep message. Have a point of departure.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Wouter is a portrait and street photographer based in Paris, France. He's originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He does image retouching for clients in the beauty and fashion industry and enjoys how technology makes new ways of photography possible.

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what a dope dude, you can totally tell he still really digs photographing, and he's all Yoda-esque... haha.

Fantastic video! Thanks for sharing.

Very inspiring. I love also how he embraces digital as a new tool.

The entire interview is fantastic and inspiring. I particularly love how he explained that there's a "language of film and the darkroom and there's a language of digital."

Thanks for a great post. I just realised how long my love of photography can live for.

Fantastic message here. For so long I've been pushing myself to shoot and capture images, but I've never established a point of departure or theme. I can't wait to apply this to my work.