Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Your photos aren't real!"

Recently I had a rather "interesting" discussion shall we say with someone, and also came upon this blog post titled "Are your colors manipulated" (a fantastic read by the way) from photographer Jay Patel The discussion I had was kind of heated at times, and centered around one of my photos specifically and how about this person was there with me and how this scene didn't look anything like it does in the photo itself. This is quite an interesting take on things I thought, because I have never really wanted to captured a scene "exactly" how it looks. If I wanted to do that, I would use an instamatic camera and simply point and shoot. Wildlife photography aside, when it comes to landscapes or lifestyle images of the rural and country, all that especially matters in the end is the image, not if the colors are exactly the same as they were when you were standing at the scene photographing it. 


It is not to say that I feel that such things are wrong and indeed there are many photographers who try to emulate and capture the scene just as how it looked. Heck, now and then I do that as well, too. It is all up to myself and how I want to portray things. Creative expression is good, and sometimes if by using a Tobacco filter in front of my lens to warm it up looks better than the actual scene, I will go for it. The same can be said for using ND filters to slow down the motion of the water to give it a more silky look and feel, or using custom white balance to bring out colors more. I often do this during Autumn to capture the vivid greens and golds and often also shoot on a white balance setting of "sunset" in camera when I am photographing them (an old trick I learned years ago). 


What I find really intriguing is a recent quote I came across that seems to fit things perfectly; 


‎"I am not interested in showing my work to photographers any more, but to people outside the photo-clique. My pictures are not escapes from reality,

but a contemplation of reality, so that I can experience life in a deeper way." - Bruce Davidson


Now I think that really has a tendecny to hit home on the situation here, big time. In much of my work I strive to add a deep sense of feeling and emotion in to them. I am not in this to market to other photographers but to to the general public with an image that they can relate to. Something that gives a person a sense of bonding and tie in, something that they can feel from past experience. Not other photographers. The thing is, I like my own work and I am happy with it most of the time. Isn't that what many strive to do, simply be happy in their own creative endevours? The thing is, you are only allowed to see what the photographers lets you see and that is all. So it goes, that first shouldn't we see the image for what it is and not look at it under a microscope, evaluating it on it's technical merits, and instead enjoy what the photographer is presenting us? Photography has the ability to transfer you in to a whole other world, an escapism for just a second, to see things in place you would never get to see, to feel things like you have never felt, but first we need to take off the glasses of cynicism to experience that all. 


Who cares if I "warm up" an image, who cares if I crop something for better composition, who cares....really. Other photographers generally care, are they buying my work and hanging it on their walls? Nope. It isn't to say that you shouldn't listen to your fellow photographers as they are a key instrument in helping you become better and grow as an artist, but just know that you being happy in your own photography is where success lays at. You acheive that and you are well on your way. Keep in mind as always, that every photograph you see has been "worked over" in some way, shape or form. Whether it is old skool burning and dodging in the wet darkroom, printed on different papers to bring more color out, or if it a newer shot of a gorgeous landscape, shot with Grad NDs and processed inside Lightroom, everything is worked over. In the end all that matters is the image, you being happy with a photo which you took and how it is presented to the viewer. From Velvia to Lightroom presets, you only see the artistic vision presented before you, for if we all shot the same, life would be rather boring, not to mention photography itself. A world would be rather vanilla flavored if we had no sense of vision or artistic style. 


For the record, this is the image in question, ironically one of my most popular photographs I have ever taken, a larger version can be seen on my website here and prints of it are available for sale on my site on redbubble


Old Fords And Farms-HDR


Thursday, June 2, 2011

"The Feeling" of Photography

Originally written in my journal on deviantART Tue Oct 12, 2010, 4:29 PM

This is going to be deep so you have been warned.

I wonder how much others really think I do, that is if they do at all. I am sure maybe one or 2 of you do, but how many more do I am not sure of. There are a very select few who know this about me, and I mean few, as in I can maybe count them on one hand on DA.

So what is it I am talking about? Ok….

I wonder how many others have this secret meaning with their photography, an emotional attachment to many of the images which they post, which convey a greater sense of feeling and meaning within them? I remember when I first started on DA I used to be so excited to upload my latest shots that I had just taken, to share with everyone. Somewhere along the way, many many MANY moons ago, that changed. While 85% of the shots I do upload are fresh from the latest photo shoot, there are many which are not. I think this started changing several years ago when I started to become enamored by images which contain a sense of feeling within them. Images which many traditional photographers would probably frown down upon because they have been processed, sometimes rather heavy handed.

I wonder if my feelings are so often seen by what it is I upload on here…how I felt, what I experienced, how I thought at that very moment. I for one am not so sure but I do hope so. I wonder if people upload images mainly in this same manner, images which they hold deep to their heart that hold a much deeper meaning in them than what most viewers see?

Take for example the shot, while everyone was chasing a Bear around behind me, I was alone about 15 minutes by myself, just watching the sunlight come upon the peaks, watching the color change as the sun broke the horizon, and I felt like I completely belonged in this moment, with the soft echoes of some unknown soft song coming out of the car radio. It was in the background but it fit the entire scene as a whole. It isn’t so much the beauty of the landscape itself I was trying to represent, but the feeling I had whilst being there. What it is that I experienced.


"Morning Light Of The Mountain"-Lake Copeland, RMNP, Colorado



Truthfully I have a lot of photographs like this, but most will never be uploaded on here…stuff shot in cemeteries and the like. I don’t upload it because I don’t think many would be remotely interested in seeing it. Some of it is very heavy though I will say that, and probably very unlike what you would expect from me.

Sometimes when life is being a PITA I am of a two tiered train of thought, one is just to go and get lost somewhere with my camera in nature, and the other is just to kind of go crawl under my covers and sleep, because I don’t have the desire to shoot. Luckily the latter happens very rarely.

Honestly the next images you see from me, well, I am trying to decide what I should post honestly but in it lies a deeper story than what you see, within that very image. Wildlife images are usually an exception to this rule, but generally everything else has this quality about it. Considering the last 2 weeks have been enormously hard at times, it may very well show up in my photos, who knows.

In the end, I hope that my images remain long after I am gone on this face of this earth, and I hope that maybe they touched someone along the way. that is the solstice which I would have in knowing that they did this. If they are able to do that, then I must be doing something right.