Most, if not all photographers are opportunistic creatures. The severity of this condition heavily depends on the type of photography they’re interested in. With some, the opportunism comes and goes during the years, but others can be just terminally opportunistic.
Very mild opportunism could manifest itself as a want to take photographs because of beautiful weather or of a type of flower that just happens to be in bloom. More aggressive and chronic opportunism is usually linked to journalistic photography where something newsworthy happening or not happening could make or break the story.
This should be a familiar Latin phrase, but in case it isn’t, it translates to “seize the day”. This is definitely good advice in other areas of life besides photography. But in photography, I can think of a specific situation where this saying comes in handy.
Photography for me is a hobby, a dear hobby, but a hobby nonetheless. The unfortunate consequence of having a day job means that I’m not able to go out and shoot as often as I would like. This was the primary reason to get the Fuji X-T20 and a few lenses to go with it. Now I have a good camera with me almost everywhere I go. So when I saw this lovely summer car on an abandoned parking lot, I just had to pull over and take a few shots.
Still, I must admit that I don’t take the camera out of the bag nearly as often as I should. After ten years of photography, I’ve become picky when it comes to subject matter. A part of it is the fact that I can “see” or predict the end result in my head even without a camera. So if the predicted end result doesn’t look good in my head, I won’t even bother to take the camera out.
This ability to predict the end result also makes you lazy. Even though by “working” the subject there’s most likely a decent photo in there. So maybe the bottom line is that I should seize the day more often.
If you’re not fluent in Latin, this phrase is probably not a familiar one. I had to google this myself, but apparently, it translates to “shit happens”. And shit will definitely happen sometimes if you don’t photograph a subject when you have the chance.
Photographers usually have a strong tendency to value discarded items, derelict buildings and in some cases a burnt Volkswagen Golf. For some reason, cities generally want to go after these areas and things and clean them. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve driven past some cool place or thing thinking I’ll come back and shoot there at some point. Only to realize that there’s nothing to photograph anymore.
As an example I had this happen just this week. I saw a cool stencil graffiti on an electrical box a while back but didn’t have my camera with me at that point. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked past that electrical box since. Every time thinking about photographing that graffiti. This week I noticed that the “urban art” had been washed away.
If photography has been your hobby for a while and this story doesn’t seem familiar, brace yourself, because shit like this will definitely happen at some point.
This is another more familiar Latin saying, which translates to “through my fault” or “my fault” in some cases.
What can you say other than “my fault” when you had the chance to photograph something but didn’t and now it’s gone. Sometimes opportunism just isn’t possible due to some restraint like time or weather, but in most cases, the fault falls onto the photographer.
Remember that if you don’t carpe diem often enough, stercus accidit will occur and you won’t be able to blame anyone else and have to say mea culpa in the end.