Photographing Boys and Their Toys

Glenn Guy, the Travel Photography Guru, with a metal photographer figurine purchased in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

You know the saying, boys and their toys. I want to explain how I used that concept to meet a most serendipitous challenge.

Arcanum Inception Master

I’m one of the Inception Masters over at The Arcanum, a new and exciting way to learn photography online. My main responsibility is to build a community of like minded, supportive and super keen photographers who via creation, interaction and one-to-one critiques will build their technical expertise and ignite their creativity. I take the responsibility associated with building the culture of the community very seriously, as do I the role of supporting and mentoring future Masters from within the cohorts for which I'm responsible.

A Challenge Accepted

A member of one of my Arcanum cohorts sent a friendly challenge my way. They suggested that, while it’s important to strive for consistency in branding from place to place across the web, I might want to consider updating my profile photo or, at the very least, start adding photos (even selfies) of me across my site, our community on the Arcanum and across social media.

I completely agree and have taken action in that regard. Indeed, not being one to baulk at a challenge, I determined to make it so.

It’s interesting that, despite being my mum’s favorite child, there seem to have been very few photos made of me while I lived at home. I was the fourth of five children and photography was a relatively expensive hobby back in the day. I have very few memories of the old man bringing out the faithful Kodak 126 size instamatic camera. Almost certainly its appearance would have coincided with major birthdays, Christmas and the like.

Since beginning my career in photography almost 40 years ago my focus has always been on the other which, even at family events, rarely sees me in front of the camera’s lens. Over recent years I’ve become aware that there’s a real lack of photos of me in the archive and this challenge has, finally, spurred me on to take action.

So, be warned, you’ll likely see more photos of yours truly popping up on this site and elsewhere from now on.   

Glenn Guy, the Travel Photography Guru, posing for a photo with a metal figurine depicting a photographer. The likeness is uncanny.

Serendipity Strikes

Both photos in this article were made by Garima Dewan during a one-on-one photography course during which time we explored how best Garima could utilize her camera to make great photos of her daughter.

I gave Garima as many actionable tips and techniques that I could, but an important part of the learning process is putting those tips and techniques into practice. That meant I had to change my role from tutor to subject, after which time I was confident that Garima had largely come to terms with her camera as well as the crucial subjects of lighting, posing and composition. The rest, as they say, is practice. By which I mean do it, then rinse and repeat, again and again and again.

Through repetition we learn, gain confidence and the ability to make images in a more timely fashion.

Making The Most Of It

Theory is one thing, but the best way to cement new learnings is through real-life, hands-on photography. That's the reason I've taken on the role of model in these pictures. Needless to say I'm better suited to the role of a character study than that of a catwalk model.

We utilized window light, a nifty little prop (i.e., a statue of a photographer which I purchased at a market in Buenos Aires) and the top of my TV as a substitute table. Simplicity is the key. The glasses were added, in the top photo, as a simple way to explore notions such as thoughtfulness, consideration, contemplation and critical thinking which, might otherwise, not have been so obvious in a ”smile for the camera, wally” pose.

I strongly advise all photographers to step out from behind the camera and have some photos made of yourself. Selfies and snapshots made by friends are a great start. But it’s also worth considering having some really good photos made for you by a really competent photographer. You may even be able to arrange a barter deal.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru