The law and photography


There’s not much similarity, you might think, between the law and the art of photography. One primarily involves the written word, the other is clearly a visual medium (I’m sure I don’t need to say which is which!). I am a lawyer who photographs and I would suggest that there are elements in each discipline that, once conscious of, could be used so as to benefit the other.

Lawyers need to have an “eye for detail”, as well as an ability to see “the bigger picture”. No client wants advice which simply regurgitates the law with no consideration of how it might operate in practice. There is a certain skill in being able to “frame” a question to enable you to better focus in on an issue, dissect it and then provide a creative solution which could be made up of seemingly unrelated, but in fact inextricably linked, elements so as to form a coherent whole. Put like this, perhaps the similarities with photography become much clearer.


With a camera, you aim to see everything that is in front of you – the twisted branch of a tree edging its way into the frame (the distracting drafting in a piece of legislation), the traces left in the earth by a horseshoe or the anguish behind the smile (the just-discernible reasoning in a judgment) or the tonal change as a wheat field gives way to grass (the recognition that the problem before you involves a blend of two distinct areas of law).  You also need to understand how to balance the various parts giving each the appropriate weight in the final composition (ensuring the advice concentrates on the legal issues in a practical context).


Of course, these skills are not limited to lawyers. Each job or profession has its own set of necessary skills. Have you thought about how yours might be relevant to your photography? How does the work you do influence how you photograph? Could being aware of any such links help you in your work or your photography?

What does this exercise teach you? Seeing what you do as separate from who you are and overly compartmentalising your life is ultimately unproductive. Everything is in a dance together. When you look closely, you see connections everywhere. Learning to take the time to see them takes effort but should result in a sense of wholeness. Perhaps even meaning.


~ by paulsidle on February 12, 2014.

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