I think it’s both. And then I think you also have to throw in some intuition and being in-touch with the moment.
I go to a lot of locations that most people just consider garbage dumps. Abandoned places left by folks who came to the decision that where they were was just not working for them and it was time to move on.
Very often vandals move-in and destroy what remains. I find this very sad, they don’t realize they are destroying historical social monuments to the past.
When I go to places like these I never move things, I just go in search of an artistic viewpoint to capture what is left.
I try to tell a story in my images. I use layered compositions that lead you into the image. Contrasting viewpoints that might provoke a memory or an emotion; like an evergreen tree’s reflection in a shard of broken glass. Nature outlasts humanity. Mother nature always wins.
To find these things you have to “get present”. Most people go for the full shot. Trying to capture as much as possible in the frame. I want what others don’t see. The texture of the wood, a pile of broken glass artfully arranged by someone else. These are the places I find my art.