Photographers tend to talk about their “shots.” I would caution that great photographs are intuitive rather than an act of will. Let’s consider this from the perspective of actually shooting a projectile. Consider this exchange between the Master Archer Awa Kenzo and his student Eugen Herrigel (Zen in the Art of Archery):
“The right art,” cried the Master, “is purposeless, aimless!” The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.”
“But you yourself have told me often enough that archery is not a pastime, not a purposeless game, but a matter of life and death!”
“I stand by that. We master archers say: one shot—one life! What this means, you cannot yet understand. But perhaps another image will help you, which expresses the same experience. We master archers say: with the upper end of the bow the archer pierces the sky; on the lower end, as though attached by a thread, hangs the earth. If the shot is loosed with a jerk there is a danger of the thread snapping. For purposeful and violent people the rift becomes final, and they are left in the awful center between heaven and earth.”
“What must I do then?” I asked thoughtfully.
“You must learn to wait properly.”
“And how does one learn that?”
By letting go of yourself, leaving yourself and everything yours behind you so decisively that nothing more is left of you but a purposeless tension.
My point is that the photographer’s subject should not be a target. If approached as target the image created will tend to represent something separate from the photographer. There is a passive quality to photography that can only be achieved if the distinction of subject and object is removed. It is not about being an object to photograph. We photograph because we connect to a person or subject. A photograph is the record of the encounter between the subject and the photographer.