I was having a discussion with a colleague just last weekend along these very lines. I had said that without passion of intent there is not much to a photo (or our craft). Going back through the archives it is plainly visible for all to see what the attitude of either the model, or I, or both was at the time of the shoot. He didn't believe me, but he is not the most assiduous of viewers. But it is true. If the juices aren't flowing then leave the camera in its bag. So too with processing. So much of what is called for, especially in commercial work, is simply grist to the mill. But when the heart is engaged it excites the brain and gets us to go the extra yards.
What a sweet daughter to give her dad such a treasure.
Oh boy! have you opened up a can of delightful worms!
That spark of which you make mention is what lies at the root of all muse relationships. It’s the why of Bailey and Shrimpton and a dozen or more ‘heroes’ who made their mark working with that someone special who turned their shots into pictures. It was the making of my own career – not anywhere in the same exalted league, unfortunately – and, in reverse, due to lack of muse, the cause of my doldrums today.
Without the anticipation, the excitement of what you might
be able to pull off on the next shoot, work just becomes work, and in most ways clicking a shutter’s no more exciting than turning a screw or welding a join. And there is an amazingly beautiful chemistry in a relationships that makes photographic encounters between the right people wonderfully exciting for them.
From the practical point of view, the enthusiasm in a muse situation is a hugely valuable commodity to clients: you don’t have to waste time trying to suss out what makes a new model tick; you don’t go along dead end visual paths and you discover early what to stress and what to avoid. And that’s important: I’ve never come across anyone without a downside to her photographic possibilities, and looks can be very deceptive. But, in a small business environment, it can be counterproductive as I discovered to my cost when using the same girl for two competing fashion retail clients in the same city and within ownership of the same group: they don’t like to share! Seems sensible, I suppose… except that one of them is going to get second-best.
So yes, as you suggest, where there’s no strong motivation or, better yet, personal compulsion, then the camera should probably remain in its bag. Hence the cellpix: they simply happen for the spontaneous fun of it with no further intent or pretension beyond the instant giggle. In fact, I find that some things give me a caption before I take the shot… that
would have been a valuable asset when I was shooting stock, certainly better than the dumb switch from 'blad/Nikon to 6x7!
To end: without real motivation you discover work; with motivation pleasure. Same thing/work, in many cases, but done for two different reasons.