One of the greatest lessons I ever learned about photography was also one of the simplest; take your camera everywhere you go. It is sometimes and often in your everyday life that a great photograph is waiting to be taken. This means changing the way you see the world around you and observing small details that you may ignore on a regular basis. In your office, at restaurants, walking on the street, teaching a class or sharing moments with friends and family are all great opportunities to take photographs. So many times, I find these small moments in time capture the unique compositions and colors that only your environment and knowledge can provide.
I live and work in Minneapolis, Minnesota which is a smaller city but just as amazing for photography as any place I have ever been in all of my travels. It all depends on your perspective and how you choose to look at the world and the environment for your photography. Many places I have traveled have many more landmarks that are recognizable as photographs, but every place has endless possibilities for capturing that small moment in time that will never come again. The above photographs were all taken in Minneapolis and were shot during my every day life: out for ice cream, eating breakfast, at the book store and on a walk by a lake. It means being very observant and shooting more rather than less. This does not mean careless shooting but rather embracing the mundane as something unique and as available for good photographs as landmarks and famous cities. Treat these photographs like any other shot. Consider angles, composition, color, lighting and subject matter. How can what seem ordinary become special through your shots? It does always mean traveling to the most famous location or finding the most typical subject matter to photograph. Almost any camera is capable of this type of photography. Is it the color, timing or form that makes an ordinary environment unique?
I was in New York City in a weekend in July and as always, carried my camera most places I went to. I have been to New York several times before, but my favorite type of shooting in the city is capturing the everyday that is unique to every location you visit. This can seem boring when New York has Time Square, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and other famous sites. The city is also so bustling with activity and movement that it may seem daunting to approach the character of the city in a new way. My approach is often to sit or stand in a location for a while until you seem to blend into the activity. Then, I walking and shooting as things present themselves. To me, it is not the famous landmarks that make New York special. It is the small, every day life situations and locations that are different to me, but ordinary to the local residents. Even small things like the benches, doorknobs, bakeries, novelty shops and convergence of material that make photographing this location so amazing. Sometimes, it is simply shooting your food before you eat it or catching two people as they talk to each other. This may seem like something that is not worth including, but you will be amazed how a photograph of those subject matters can make it seem timeless.
You can also consider shooting aspects of everyday life that are special to you. I have a great love of typography and letterforms and so often include them in my photography. I find them in almost every situation I am in and so observe carefully the ones I want to capture and save.
Consider what catches your eye as you walk down the street or are driving and stop to document it. For some people, this means shooting your children, home remodeling, animals or the changes in the seasons.
Be flexible about driving casually and stopping when you see something you want to photograph. Think about other things in your life you like to do and include that in your photographs. See your home and environment as subject matter for your photographs. There is no such things as boring photographs if you know how to add your unique eye to them.