Happy, happy New Year. I sincerely hope that wherever you are, you will have a safe, happy, glorious New Year. I think we all deserve it. My part of the world went into lockdown again a few weeks ago, and I’ve taken it perhaps more seriously this time, by not venturing out at all since its declaration, except to pick up something curbside that was ordered well before lockdown.
So that means a lot of time on my hands, right? Would that it were so. I’ve set myself a number of goals, and am moving forward on each one, perhaps more slowly than expected but moving. One of those goals was to make some artistic direction decisions about my photography. More on that in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’ve also immersed myself in ideas that might set me in a new direction. This post is about one of those – rules in photography. Continue reading “If It Ain’t Broke, Maybe It Shouldn’t Be”→
Well ain’t this grand. I logged into my WordPress account today to begin to write my next post and found a completely new editor. I was warned that it was coming, but I ignored it. Far from being “easy” and “versatile” and “quick”, it requires that I select “blocks” of content types, arrange them on a page, fill in the content of each block and test the layout for views on computers, tablets and phones. I’ve never been good with puzzle pieces, and I won’t use more than half of the block types available, so the change was a less than stellar one for me.
I didn’t intend this to be the topic of my post, but somehow it is fitting. Being forced to change my paradigm is a good thing right now. Everybody needs a restart or a refresh from time to time. But my first reaction was admittedly “WTF”. I’ve had more of those moments this week too.
Ok, so the initial shock has worn off and I’m now getting used to selecting and dropping in content blocks. Even images drop in seamlessly. But I have to change the way I think about my post. I typically write the text, then drop in content. Not any more. Content placement first, then writing the text. Getting there. But on to something more important.
We tried a new concept in our local camera club this year: small special interest groups that would do a deep dive into one subject. The group would decide how, what, where, when and why, and also for how long. One of the groups I joined is looking at Fine Art, in all its forms, as a key to improving our own photography.
But first we had to decide what the heck is “fine art”? We’ve had several animated discussions in the past few months, even a field trip to our local art gallery. In the past, I’ve written about photography as art and thought that experience would help, but no. For all the “deep diving” on this subject, I’m not really much further ahead. Why is this so hard? Continue reading “On the Hunt for Fine Art”→
Lots of articles are written about gear, editing software, and training for both. Lots more are written about composition – rules and tips. Lighting, time of day, angle, selecting the subject – all of these receive wide commentary from writers, vloggers and trainers alike.
I can shoot an image, I can even stage a scene. But more often than I would like, I completely blank out when I bring the raw image onto the computer. I ask myself – now what? What’s the final look I want to achieve with this image? How should I present it?
To those photographers who always know what the result will be, even before they shoot, I applaud you. I’ve listened to photographers speak of their work in exquisite detail, outlining every capture and adjustment decision and why they made it. I envy them.
I have friends who deliberately do minimal edits. I have others who retouch to the point of the original piece serving only as a framework for a piece of art. Frankly, I rarely like either extreme. So I guess I’ve made my first decision – establishing a boundary around my edits.
To be a good photographer is to be a lifelong student of the craft. There is no such thing as a photographer that knows it all. Even if you are the most technically proficient expert around, the art of photography is something that needs attention for as long as you shoot.
I’ve noticed an evolution of my abilities and interests over the 4 years since I took to this seriously. I’m not bragging. Far from it. Some things have become second nature while others send me down a rabbit hole of discovery, wrong turns and sometimes an “ah-ha” moment. But the most mind-intensive introspection, for me, occurs when I’m examining the work of other photographers. I’ve come to realize that this is a good thing, even if it leaves me with more questions than answers. Continue reading “Photographers I Admire”→
It seems there is a long-standing debate around photographing other people’s work. It’s a simple debate: what exactly is the photographer creating if the photograph includes an object or structure that has been created by someone else?
This debate arises mostly in relation to works that exist in public spaces. The originating works may already be labelled “works of art” or may be labelled “architecture”, “edifice”, “structures”, “building”, “hardscape”, “figure”, “carving”, “casting” or any of many names that don’t necessarily assign an aesthetic value.
And yet all of it was imagined by someone, designed by someone, built by someone and placed on display. Even if the work has another function, such as a building, there was a creative effort expended to provide that space. If a photographer takes an image of it, presents it as their own creation and maybe makes a profit from it, is that right? Disclaimer: this is not a legal review. Continue reading “Photographing the Work of Others”→
The options for manipulating an image after capture are endless today. Creative edits can include composites, the addition of graphic elements, and the use of finishing treatments such as texture overlays, painterly conversions, grunge and high dynamic range (HDR) effects. These are just a few possibilities.
But as recently as 1935, the only manipulation available to a photographer was around how much highlight and shadow to reveal in the print and where (a.k.a. dodging and burning). All film was black and white. The most creative photographers played with different development processes and printing surfaces, but these were all still monochrome results. Others tried coloured filters at image capture, or layered emulsions that could produce different colours, but this made the capture and processing much more complex and the results were often poor.
In 1935, Eastman Kodak Company introduced Kodachrome and changed the world forever. Despite this, colour photography did not become widespread, at least not in the consumer market, until the 1960’s. So colour image capture has really been in broad use for just 50 years.
Today, all digital cameras capture colour data by default. Black and white conversion is available both in-camera and through post-processing. The irony is that the same debates about colour vs. black and white that drove the creation of Kodachrome still exist today. Here’s my take on the creative debate. Continue reading “Black and White or Colour?”→
There are many ways to express one’s creativity in photography and Patrick has chosen light as the medium for his expression. You might wonder what’s unique about that, since every photographer uses light. It’s how he uses it that sets him apart. Continue reading “Light Painting with Patrick Rochon”→